A Chinese student overwhelmed by a gambling debt "cooked up" a sophisticated plan to make counterfeit casino chips in a scam that almost netted him and a croupier about $26,000, a Perth court was told yesterday.
Zhen Jiang was yesterday fined $3000 after he pleaded guilty to a counterfeiting charge over the plot last year to produce fake $25 Crown Perth casino chips.
Former croupier Wei Ricky Si has also pleaded guilty to a counterfeiting charge and will be sentenced next month.
Perth Magistrate's Court was told authorities uncovered the plan when a Customs official found 2073 casino hologram stickers hidden with business cards in a package addressed to a massage parlour in Bassendean. But the address was actually Si's home address.
A controlled delivery to Si's address was done by police, before they searched the property and seized gaming chips and the stickers.
The court was told Si admitted ordering the business cards but denied having anything to do with the stickers.
While police were searching Si's house, Jiang arrived and was spoken to by officers, who searched his car and found a box containing 1900 counterfeit $25 chips.
Prosecutor Brett Tooker said if Jiang and Si's plan had been successful, the amount they "stood to gain and Burswood stood to lose" was about $25,900.
He said the plan had involved a level of sophistication and he argued the men should be jailed, saying there was a need to deter others.
Jiang's lawyer Mark Andrews said the 26-year-old came to Perth to study and he developed a gambling problem after a relationship breakdown.
He started gambling baccarat, initially using money from his family before borrowing from loan sharks who frequented the casino and his debt grew to about $20,000.
During that time, Jiang stopped attending classes, which led to his student visa being cancelled and, faced with some "quite unsavoury" creditors, he "cooked up the scheme largely out of desperation".