In January of last year the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee was suspended and then cancelled. The poker community was in shock when an investigation found that counterfeit chips had been brought into play in the tournament by Christian Lusardi. Lusardi was discovered as the culprit due to his flushing counterfeit chips down the toilet in his hotel room which ultimately caused clogged pipes.
Shortly after that incident Lusardi was arrested on charges of international bootlegging DVDs. More than a year has passed and after having his sentencing date pushed back several times, Lusardi was sentenced on March 30th to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He has also been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,137,864.01.
Lusardi pled guilty to two counts of Criminal Information on September 2nd, 2014. He was charged with Copyright Infringement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sections 2319(b)(1)&(2) and 17 U.S.C. Section 506(a)(1)(A), and Trafficking in Counterfeit Labels, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2318.
Assistant United States Attorney Susan B. Menzer prosecuted the case pertaining to the DVD counterfeiting investigation. The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Postal Service. The following press release was sent out by the Wilmington, NC USAO office:
"Investigation revealed that several boxes of counterfeit DVDs mailed from China were intercepted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The boxes of counterfeit DVDs were controlled delivered to the identified address. Shortly after the controlled delivery was complete, agents made contact with Lusardi which resulted in the subsequent search of Lusardi’s residence. The search resulted in the discovery of over 35,500 counterfeit DVDs. Investigation revealed that between June 2010 and July 2012, Lusardi was in the business of receiving, manufacturing, and selling counterfeit DVDs in both the United States and Canada. It was determined that Lusardi received over $1.3 million in his PayPal account during this time period."
Nothing was mentioned in the press release about the counterfeit chip scandal at the Borgata. Imagine making it through the field, down to the final 27 players, only to find out the tournament was being investigated and you could only stand by and wait for a decision from the casino and gaming commission. A class-action lawsuit was filed by the players and eventually the case was resolved by New Jersey Gaming Regulators.
Perhaps Lusardi did not receive what was truly due him in the eyes of poker world but five years in prison may make many of them feel he was justly punished for his crimes.