Saturday, October 8, 2016

Gordon Baird admits role in $103M illegal gambling ring linked to Mafia, Hells Angels

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 BarlettaIn 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