The infamous New Jersey chip smuggler, Christian Lusardi, has had his court hearing pushed back to March 30 according to court documents obtained by Pokernews. Following his arrest last year during the Borgata Winter Poker Open, Lusardi has since been convicted for copyright infringement after investigators discovered he had thousands of counterfeit DVDs in his possession.
Borgata Bluff Leads to Federal Investigation
Lusardi’s penchant for dealing in all things fake has reportedly netted him more than $1 million over the past two years; however, had it not been for his blunder at the Borgata, he may have never been caught.
The high stake bluffer’s problems started back in 2014 when he was found pouring chips down a toilet inside Harrah’s Atlantic City. After the discs caused a blockage in the system and flooded the restroom, the casino’s security team was able to follow a trail back to Lusardi.
Just a few days earlier, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, alongside the Borgata’s security team, had shut down Event #1 of the Winter Poker Open after discovering two million extra chips on the table. A full scale investigation followed and the tournament was eventually canceled after the organizers deemed the breach of security too significant for play to continue.
After reviewing security footage from Harrah’s, Lusardi was eventually arrested before being bailed to appear in court at a later date. Unfortunately, the charges relating to the production of counterfeit poker chips was the least of his worries.
After he was booked by New Jersey’s state authorities his presence in the legal system altered the federal authorities who’d been monitoring for some time in relation to counterfeit DVDs. His arrest in Atlantic City was the final piece of the legal puzzle the federal investigators needed to bust the poker pro.
Poker Charges Dropped but Greater Punishment Awaits
A preliminary hearing prompted Lusardi to enter a sealed plea. This deal was accepted and the charges relating to the manufacturing fake poker chips were dropped in favor of convicting him on federal charges. As it stands today, Lusardi was due to be sentenced last week for two charges relating to copyright infringement. However, Senior US District Judge James C. Fox recently approved a motion to postpone the hearing while Lusardi’s legal team conducted more research into the matter.
Moreover, the Motion Picture Association of America has also asked for time to fully prepare its victim impact statement which will form part of the prosecution against Lusardi.
“The Motion Picture Association of America, who represents the victims of Defendant’s criminal activity, has not completed its victim impact statement. The USPO requires the victim impact statement to finalize the U.S. Sentencing Guideline calculations and determine the amount of restitution Defendant owes. A representative of the Motion Picture Association of America has assured the Government that it is expediting the completion of its statement, which it will forward to USPO,” the motion reads.
What started out as a way to defraud the poker community has quickly escalated in something much more serious for Lusardi. With the full weight of the movie industry ready to come crashing down on top of him it’s highly likely he’ll get more than a slap on the wrist when his case is eventually heard in court.