Counterfeit chips do play, but only if you don't get caught and that was the flaw in the plan of a husband-and-wife couple that were caught passing fake chips at Maryland Live! Casino.
Maryland State Police released news that officers were called on January 20th to the Anne Arundel County casino where discovery had led to four suspects that passed counterfeit $100 poker chips on two different occasions.
Maryland State Police, the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, Virginia State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations came together in a joint investigation which culminated in Vuong Q. Truong, 37, and his wife, Rosa A. Nguyen, 36, of Annadale, Virginia charged with various counts of theft.
February 19th found a search warrant being served in Virginia charging Nguyen who “allegedly purchased $150,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips via the Internet for $12,000. The chips were then altered to appear similar to Maryland Live! Casino chips.”
It was discovered that many of the chips had been discarded in Lake Accotink which was nearby. Investigators were able to recover approximately $115,000 worth of fraudulent chips because the chips floated to the surface.
That charges against Nguyen were one count of theft between $1,000 and $10,000, as well as two counts of conspiracy to commit theft between $1,000 and $10,000. Truong's charges were one count of conspiracy to commit theft and four counts of committing a theft scheme. Both of them agreed to appear in court by signing criminal summonses issued by a court commissioner. Signing the summons is not an admission of guilt.
“We are working closely with State Police and will not be commenting on the specific details of the case, except to praise our internal Security and Surveillance, and the Police, for their swift action," Carmen Gonzales, Director of Communications at Maryland Live!, told PokerNews.com. "Our team’s ability to immediately recognize the situation allowed us to provide time sensitive information to investigators that led to the speedy apprehension of the suspects without any financial impact to our operation. This result clearly demonstrates that the systems and training deployed at Maryland Live! Casino are highly effective and should serve as a deterrent to criminal behavior.”
There appears to be a rash of counterfeit chips surfacing (pun intended) with this particular scheme happening just a month after the discovery of counterfeit chips in the Borgata Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee tournament. The majority of those chips were found clogging up the plumbing at nearby Harrah's. Consequently, the Borgata tournament was cancelled Division of Gaming Enforcement and the prize pool frozen with 27 players still in the hunt. Christian Lusardi charged and arrested in that scheme.
Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces — suspected of passing counterfeit chips — at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs casino in Iowa ended up being relieved of his duties.
The press release also stated that police are seeking charges against a boyfriend-girlfriend couple in fraudulent chip use at Maryland Live in an unrelated case! Also from Northern Virginia, this couple is believed to have altered $1 chips to make them appear as $100 chips from Maryland Live! Casino.