A man who created counterfeit poker chips in order to cheat his local casino, was sentenced in an Oklahoma Court this week. Fifty year old William Reece Lancaster, a sign maker by trade, used his professional skills to make these chips in a bid to play at the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe’s Grand Lake Casino in Oklahoma and win on money that was not his.
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The federal court sentenced Reece to five years probation, with the first six months spent in home detention. Further, Reece has been ordered to pay restitution costs of $70,000 for losses due. In December, Reece pleaded guilty to all charges brought against him, including theft amounting to over $1000. He faced a maximum prison sentence of up to a decade in prison and a quarter of a million dollars in fines.
During the case, the sign maker said that he had a gambling addiction problem and claimed that this drove him to counterfeit the chips. To do so, he first had to obtain 25c poker chips from the casino and then, using a unique technique involving bleach, he re-dyed them, turning them into poker chips, each one to the value of $500.
So real-looking were the counterfeit chips that Reece created that the government needed to employ the services of forensic experts to show which the real chips were and which were the counterfeit.
“Flaws in the chips were difficult to see with the naked eye,” noted Attorney R. Trent Shore, prosecutor of the case.
Reece then took the chips and used them to exchange for real money at the casino cashier, or to play at the blackjack tables. All in all, 200 of these counterfeit chips were created but, there may be more around.
The casino picked up on a counterfeit chip and then used internal security cameras to net Reece.