Louis Colavecchio Biography
Louis Colavecchio is not your regular gambler. He isn't known for making any great strides as far as big wins go. He was known for his ability to fool the casino slot machines.
He's a man who when the gambling bug hit knew he didn't have the ability to gamble the way he wanted to, so instead of causing himself, his business, and his family a great deal of pain by gambling away everything they had, he needed to find another way.
That's exactly what he did. He used his intelligence and business equipment to become one of the best coin counterfeiters the gambling world has ever seen. His name will be forever remembered as the man who was able to outwit the slots in Atlantic City.
Louis Colavecchio was born January 1, 1942 and is the youngest child of Benedict Colavecchio and Dora Colavecchio, They were Italian immigrants who built their life in Providence, Rhode Island. From an early age Louis wanted to be like his father.
His father had come to America with nothing and made it his mission to become a business owner. He was good with his hands and focused his skills on making high quality tools. Over the years business started to grow for Benedict and he eventually was able to open two large tool shops in the area.
As the youngest of three children Louis wanted to become a businessman like his father. He went to college and became the first one in his family to graduate college. In 1964 Louis graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Providence College in Rhode Island.
Upon his graduation he decided that jewelry was the industry that was on the rise so that was the business he decided to invest his time into. He opened a store called Trop Jewelry Co. in Providence. It took ten years for Louis's business to start making a decent profit.
Once the business started making a profit it was all uphill from there for Louis. He was finally able to live his dream and own a big house in a ritzy neighborhood. This high point in his life lasted for just a couple more years before disaster struck and devastated Louis and his business.
One night while Louis was working late some thieves broke into the store and brutally tortured Louis. He was left unconscious while they robbed the store. He woke up days later in the hospital to be told that everything was gone. The police tried to figure out who it was but they were never able to recover the merchandise so Louis was forced to file bankruptcy.
Even after this Louis still wanted to own his own shop so a couple years later he opened Diamonds in the Sky. This shop was filled with high quality diamonds and this time Louis had a state of the art security system installed as well.
This business was an oddity in the neighborhood because unlike most other businesses it wasn't open to the public for regular business hours. Instead, Louis had a sign on the door that described the business and stated you must call to make an appointment.
However, as odd as this was, the neighboring store owner and residents of the community would never guess what Louis was really doing.
Over the years Louis had been making trips to Atlantic City. In Atlantic City he fell in love with the slot machines he loved to play and had some success when he first started. He would always go to the Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino when he was in Atlantic City. He never told anyone in his life the real reason for his trips. He always just told family and friends that it was business.
Louis started off strong like most players do but he was smart enough to realize he didn't have the money to continue playing the way he really wanted to without losing everything. He tried to manipulate the games themselves at first to see if he could get them to let him play for free. This idea didn't pan out for him so he needed to find another way.
After all of his failed attempts at manipulating the machines Louis decided to see if he could use the equipment he had in his jewelry store to duplicate the coins used to play the game. So he gathered up a couple different coins and headed home to start on his new project.
When Louis returned home he went to the shop to see if his electric discharge machine would be able to generate a coin that would be close enough to the real thing to work. His first attempt to duplicate casino currency was to make a fake poker chip. He chose to start with these because it would be less likely that he would be caught than at the slot machines.
His electric discharge machine did the trick and he was able to make believable replicas. When he was forging these counterfeit coins and chips he was meticulous when it came to the detail. He knew everything had to be perfect or he would end up getting caught.
Once he was satisfied with the ability to produce the poker chips that could be used without question he turned to making the coins for the slot machines. Louis knew that the slots were where he would make the most money so he took his time and made sure that every coin was perfect.
Upon his return to Caesar's Palace Louis was nervous but in the end his hand made coins worked like a charm. He was able to play the slots for hours without having to risk a single cent of his own money. The coins worked so well he ended up winning thousands of dollars a night with them which allowed him to flaunt his wealth to other patrons at the casino.
For months Louis stayed in his comfort zone the Caesar's Palace casino but eventually wanted to try his luck and ventured out to the surrounding casinos including the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. He was able to work his magic here as well and started to expand his business. He eventually had coins that could be used in many of the casinos in Atlantic City and the surrounding areas.
He probably would have been able to continue on his winning spree had the Caesar's not taken their annual coin inventory. When they had completed their inventory they noticed that they had way more $10 coins than they should have had so they notified the Gaming Enforcement agency in New Jersey.
When the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement agency started investigating the coins they discovered that they were fakes so Caesar's notified the surrounding casinos that all discovered they also had a surplus of counterfeit coins that had been used in their machines.
Louis Colavecchio's Punishments
On January 31, 1998 Louis and his then girlfriend Donna Ulrich returned to Caesar's Palace for what would end up being the worst night of their lives. The casino and all surrounding casinos were on high alert and were watching everyone who was playing the slot machines.
Louis and Donna's behavior caught the attention of the security team and as soon as they left the casino the police opened the machines they had been playing on and found it full of counterfeit coins. Donna and Louis were arrested soon after. After they'd been taken into custody the police searched the room and Louis' car where they found 750 pounds of counterfeit coins that could be used at all the casinos in the area.
When Louis went to court he plead guilty and was given a sentence of 7 years in prison for Conspiracy, Attempted Theft by Deception, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. He was released in 2006 and it didn't take long for Louis to get back to his old tricks.
On Halloween night in 2006 he was videotaped gambling at several of the casinos on the strip in Atlantic City. The next day he was arrested and charged with 10 counts of counterfeiting among many others. He was given a $25,000 bond that was posted by an anonymous person.
He has since admitted that he was involved in the robbery of his first store so that he could collect the insurance money. Of course he was smart enough not to admit to this until after the statutes of limitations were up.
More recently he was arrested for drug trafficking when he was found to be in possession of 5 pounds of marijuana along with several plants. He was able to show proof that he needed the marijuana by providing a note from his doctor but the note didn't do him much good when it came time to account for the massive amounts of cocaine that was also found in his home.
Although Louis's legacy is not one that most people would strive to achieve, he did accomplish the notoriety he always wanted. From a young age all Louis really wanted was to be a business owner and be rich. He wanted to live in a big house in a high class neighborhood so that he could say he had made it.
This probably would have worked out well for him had he not started gambling. He fell in love with the world of gambling and liked the money that he could make doing it. He knew from the start that he didn't have the means to really become a part of this world but he really wanted to make a spot just for him.
Since he couldn't outsmart the machines to let him play without coins he knew he had to figure out how to make a coin that could fool the machine. So he used his intelligence, attention to detail, and craftsmanship to make some of the best counterfeit coins that have ever been seen.
His coins were so good that none of the machines were able to tell them apart from the real ones. If the casinos didn't have strict rules about taking monthly inventory Louis just might have gotten away with it.
Louis will always be known as the man who made the best counterfeit coins in the business but now he will never be able to step back in to another casino in the Atlantic City area because of his crimes.
Updated: May 2017