SHUTTERED CANADIAN SPORTSBOOK REVISITED IN TORONTO COURT
Top technical man of the defunct Platinum Sports admits guilt and is convicted.
Remember the dramatic Toronto police raid on the lavish Superbowl party hosted by Platinum Sports back in 2013?
Years after shuttering the Canadian online betting ring and punishing some of its leaders, the event was back in the courts this week when Gordon Baird (59) pleaded guilty to bookmaking and contributing to the activities of a criminal organization whilst he was the technical manager and administrator of the Cdn$103 million, allegedly Mafia and Hells Angels-linked sportsbook.
The National Post reports that the court was briefed on the sophisticated, high-tech nature of the betting ring, which operated from servers in Costa Rica and was successful and very lucrative between 2009 and 2013, when it was shut down following an extensive police investigation that included the use of wiretaps.
The organisation allegedly employed hundreds of people servicing thousands of punters in Ontario, Canada.
“The operation is best viewed as a highly sophisticated and organized pyramid-type structure. The pyramid structure involved a number of ‘cells’ consisting of bookies and their sub-agents signing up bettors/clients,” Baird said in an agreed statement accompanying his guilty plea.
“These cells in turn are all connected to the top of the pyramid structure by those managing the organization.”
Justice John McMahon sentenced Baird, who had no prior record and a good working history, to an 18-months conditional stay-at-home penalty and 12 months’ probation, and a Cdn$400,000 fine for his part in the illegal scheme.
Two other individuals allegedly implicated in the Platinum Sports case, Rob Barletta and Andrew Bielli, have pleaded not guilty to related criminal charges and will be contesting the accusations.
Last year another offender associated with Platinum Sports, Erwin Speckert, was sentenced to three years in prison on money laundering charges after he was arrested in Winnipeg on his way to Vancouver, transporting Cdn$1.3 million from Platinum Sports operations in a backpack.