A man convicted of passing counterfeit bills through Las Vegas slot machines was slapped with a 12-year prison sentence on Thursday.
As family members wept, Chen Chiang Liu, 46, apologized to U.S. District Judge James Mahan and said he sought only to provide a better life for his family.
“From a child growing up, I was poor,” Liu said. “I had a dream to make my parents proud of me.”
Mahan acknowledged that Liu was not the mastermind of the counterfeiting scheme that stretched from California to China. But the judge levied a 151-month sentence, the high end of the sentencing guideline range for the offense.
Liu was part of a conspiracy to manufacture counterfeit $100 bills that were authentic enough to trick slot machines equipped with bill validators. According to the federal government, Liu met with an undercover FBI agent between April and August 2005 and delivered $2 million in the bogus bills.
Authorities were able to capture Liu because he used his own player’s card in the machines.