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November 3, 2006
Police: Pawtucket man made counterfeit casino coins / Photo
Journal photo / Mary Murphy
Police display some of the counterfeit slot tokens seized when Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio was arrested.
The state police today announced the arrest of a Pawtucket man whom they say made thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit casino tokens.
Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, 64, of 172 Argol St., Pawtucket, was charged earlier in the week with 10 counts of forgery, counterfeiting or alteration of a trademark.
This is isn't Colavecchio's first arrest for counterfeiting. In 1998 he was sentenced to 27 months in prison for making fake casino coins.
After he left prison, Colavecchio started an orthotics business, according to state police Sgt. Kevin Hawkins. “He said the business never took off, so he had to do what he had to do to survive,” Hawkins said of Colavecchio.
The police searched his Pawtucket home and seized dies, molds, chemicals and the various metals needed to manufacture slot machine tokens. They also seized $5,100 in cash.
Colavecchio appeared in District Court earlier in the week and was released on a $25,000 bond. His arrest was the result of a three-month investigation that involved authorities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Las Vegas.
-- Projo.com staff writer Steve Peoples with reports from John Hill and Karen Lee Ziner
While authorities consider Colavecchio to be an associate of organized crime, they said this case was confined to his own activities.
The process he used to duplicate the casino tokens was highly sophisticated. In fact, after his first arrest, Colavecchio worked as a paid consultant for the government -- while still in prison -- to help detect counterfeit coins.
The police say Colavecchio would take genuine tokens and melt them down, sending the melted metal to a chemist who would then analyze it to determine the proper mix of metals. He would then take impressions made from the tokens and copy them onto metal dies, according to the police. Colavecchio then bought metal in the proper mix and use the dies to duplicate the tokens, the police say.
The denominations seized from his home ranged in value from $5 to $100.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 12:29 PM | Permalink
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