Student jailed for plan to use home-made casino chips

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The Independent Online

As casino scams go, it was no Ocean's Eleven. While Frank Sinatra and co plotted an elaborate scheme involving synchronised explosions and inside men, Augustin Dago thought he could order a batch of similar-looking gaming chips and cash them in with a croupier.

And while the Rat Pack planned to hit five of Las Vegas's best-known casinos, Dago's target was the slightly less glamorous Gala Casino, which has branches in Hull and Stockport among other places.

The 20-year-old student at Westminster College contacted chip manufacturing companies in China and Holland claiming he needed chips for a casino he had built in his basement. He sent pictures of Gala Casino's £25 denomination chips and planned to cash them in the company's 26 casinos across the country.

However, concerned that they were being asked to reproduce the casino chips of a well-known company, the manufacturers got in touch with the police, who arrested Dago. On his computer they found pictures of every Gala Casino in the country and pictures of the chips he had asked the manufacturers to make.

This week Dago, of Hammersmith, west London, was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

Detective Inspector Ann Marie Waller from the Metropolitan Police said: "This was a calculated attempt to commit fraud against one of the major gaming groups in the UK. Due to the quick thinking of both the chip manufacturer and Gala Coral Group Limited, Augustin Dago was stopped from circulating counterfeit casino cash chips."