|Gordon Baird, 59, admitted he was the administrator of the Platinum Sports Book, a sophisticated betting operation in Ontario that set up its servers in Costa Rica. |
Platinum employed hundreds of bookies servicing thousands of clients within the Toronto area. The bookies signed up their own clients, collected their debts and paid out their winnings on a weekly basis. The money flowed up the pyramid, court heard, with the top acting as “the bank.”
|A financial audit of seized betting records show that between 2009 and 2013 Platinum grossed more than $103 million. Police seized $4.6 million in cash during its probe.|
In 2012, $1.3 million in cash was found in the backpack of Erwin Speckert as he boarded a bus from Winnipeg to Vancouver. The source of the money was Platinum. Speckert was sentenced last year to three years for money laundering.
|The day after the police Super Bowl raid and the seizing of Platinum’s websites, identical websites were already back up, with the domain name switching from a .com address to a .tk address — signifying registration in Tokelau, three tiny coral atolls in the South Pacific.|
Police confirmed that Baird had registered the websites. Judge John McMahon accepted Baird’s guilty plea to a charge of bookmaking as participation in a criminal organization. Because Baird had no criminal record and pleaded guilty before trial, McMahon accepted a joint submission for an 18-month conditional sentence (to be served in Baird’s home) and a $400,000 fine. Baird handed over $50,000 and was given a year to pay the remainder.
|Rob Barletta||In another courtroom in the same Toronto courthouse, two co-accused in the case — Rob Barletta and Andrew Bielli, both linked to the Hells Angels pleaded not guilty to charges including bookmaking for the benefit of a criminal organization and possession of the proceeds of crime.|
Among the accused is William “Billy” Miller, a former chapter president of the Hells Angels. Also charged were: Martin Spruce, David Hair, Arno Thomsen, and Shlomo Buchler. Police consider Miller, Hair and Spruce to be the leaders.
William “Billy” Miller