Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 | 2:07 p.m.
CARSON CITY – A federal appeals court has denied the petition of a man convicted in a counterfeiting ring who tried to make up for $1.9 million lost at a Las Vegas casino.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims of Chen Chiang Liu, sentenced to 151 months in prison on his conviction of conspiracy to import, transfer and sell high quality counterfeit U.S. $100 bills.
Liu, of Los Angeles, was arrested in California in 2005 and indicted by a federal grand jury. His pre-trial travel was restricted, but he continued to gamble in Las Vegas, losing $1.9 million between February 2006 and July 2007 at Caesars Palace. He was arrested in July 2007 while playing the penny slot machines at the casino using counterfeit money, officials said.
The appeals court, in a decision written by Judged Richard Tallman, upheld the rulings of federal District Judge James Mahan, who presided over the Liu trial in Las Vegas.
Tallman wrote, “The evidence at trial showed that Liu was involved in a sophisticated international enterprise to import high quality counterfeit currency into the United States in $100 denominations called 'supernotes.'”
“The quality of the supernotes was so good that the counterfeit bills could pass undetected through slot machines and cash-counting machines in Las Vegas.”
The counterfeit bills were reportedly made in Korea and the customers would travel to Hong Kong, where they would pay 35 to 40 cents on the dollar for the supernotes.
The appeals court rejected the argument of Liu that he wasn't brought to trial within 70 days. Liu’s wife was indicted in Nevada following the charge against her husband in California. She was also arrested in Las Vegas playing a slot machine but she was acquitted after trial.
The appeals court said the subsequent indictment of Liu and his wife in Nevada didn't warrant a reversal of the Liu conviction.
Tallman said the delay wasn't unreasonable. “This was a sophisticated worldwide conspiracy to import high quality counterfeit United States currency.”
The court also rejected Liu’s claim that the jury instructions were defective.