The Northern Virginia couple throwing down $100 tokens at Maryland Live casino last month may have looked like aspiring high-rollers, but police say they were gambling with fake chips.
Maryland State Police have charged a husband and wife from Annandale, Va., with conspiracy and theft after determining that they were using counterfeit chips at the Hanover casino. Authorities are looking for two other suspects in a similar, but unrelated, case.
According to police, Rosa A. Nguyen, 36, purchased $150,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips — which had been altered to appear to be Maryland Live chips — over the Internet for $12,000.
Police served search warrants with the help of Virginia State Police and Homeland Security Investigations on Feb. 19, one month after the counterfeit chips were reported to police by the casino. Investigators learned that many of the chips had been discarded in Lake Accotink in Springfield, Va., and were able to recover about $115,000 worth.
"Fortunately for police, the chips floated," police said in a statement.
Nguyen and her husband, Vuong Q. Truong, 37, were charged through a criminal summons requiring them to appear in court. They did not have attorneys listed in court records and could not be reached for comment.
Police said another couple, also from Northern Virginia, are being sought in an unrelated case of fraudulent chip use at the casino. Police said they obtained $1 chips from a West Virginia casino and altered them to appear to be $100 chips from Maryland Live.
Casino officials provided a statement from president Robert J. Norton, praising their internal security and surveillance team.
"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," Norton said.
In another incident, a poker tournament in Atlantic City was canceled last month after a North Carolina man was caught flushing $2.7 million worth of counterfeit chips down the toilet at Harrah's Resort and Casino, according to reports.