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Casino counterfeiter Louis 'The Coin' Colavecchio remembered in upcoming Zoom program

Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio, a colorful character who tricked Connecticut casino operators with his near-perfect counterfeit tokens in the 1990s, will be remembered by journalists and detectives who knew him at a Zoom video conference presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Colavecchio, 78, of North Providence died July 6, weeks after he was granted compassionate release from his latest stint in federal prison. He was serving a 15-month sentence for counterfeiting $100 bills.

Journalist and author Andy Thibault, who co-wrote Colavecchio's 2015 autobiography, "You Thought it was More: Adventures of the World's Greatest Counterfeiter," is collaborating with the Morris Public Library to present the program.

The Cosmic Jibaros, a Latin alternative rock group, has produced an original song, tentatively titled "King Louis da la Provvidenzia," which will serve as the opening number for the Zoom presentation.

Morris Public Library Director Elena Granoth and Thibault will serve as event moderators, and participants will be able to chat and ask questions.

Guests include retired Connecticut State Police Sgt. Jerry Longo, who investigated Colavecchio in the 1990s and kept in touch with him in the years that followed; poet and writer Franz Douskey, who co-wrote the autobiography with Thibault and Colavecchio; retired Providence Journal reporter Karen Ziner, who covered Colavecchio's antics for years; and Day Staff Writer Karen Florin, who covered Colavecchio's casino counterfeiting case and interviewed him for a 2015 story.

A tool and die maker by trade, Colavecchio often hinted at his mob connections and had a gift for spinning stories about his wayward career.

Colavecchio cast casino tokens of such high quality that state police had to hire a metallurgist to determine they were counterfeits. He made replicas of $100, $25 and $10 tokens from Foxwoods, where losses totaled nearly $25,000. He reproduced $100 tokens from Mohegan Sun, which had just opened, and scammed that casino out of about $11,000 before he was caught.

He was arrested at Caesars Atlantic City in late 1996 with a car full of counterfeit tokens, a handgun and cash. Longo, who was assigned to Mohegan Sun as an investigator at the time, said he spent two years on the case after New Jersey officials notified Connecticut casino operators of the scam.

Colavecchio told The Day the token scam lasted four years, involved multiple casinos throughout the country and enabled him to have "money buried all over" by 1998, when he turned himself in to serve a two-year sentence at the federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J.

To register for the Zoom event, go to morrispubliclibrary.net or email Granoth for a link to join at egranoth@biblio.org.

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