Further Arrests linked to Illegal Gaming and Platinum Sportsbook

TORONTO, March 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) has arrested a further two (2) people as part of an investigation into illegal gaming and arrest warrants have been issued for three (3) more persons.

Arrested today and charged with Committing a Criminal Offence for the Benefit of a Criminal Organization and Conspiracy to Commit the Indictable Offence of Engaging in Bookmaking are:

  • Michael KRIARIS, age 39, of Toronto, Ontario (also charged with Instruct a person to commit an indictable offence)
  • Augustino VALENZISI, age 43, of Vaughan, Ontario

Arrest warrants for the same offences have been issued for:

  • Abraham DILES, age 47 of Stouffville, Ontario
  • Jeffrey FUCHS, age 35, of London, Ontario
  • Hiesam KADRI, age 41, of London, Ontario

"The arrests today are the third phase of the investigation into illegal gaming and Platinum Sportsbook," stated Superintendent Keith Finn, Officer in Charge of CFSEU. "The timing of these arrests was planned to meet specific strategic and operational needs of the investigation. We will continue to monitor the use of illegal gambling websites as we remain committed to ensuring the safety of our citizens and communities."

The first stage of this operation occurred on February 3, 2013, when officers from CFSEU and assisting agencies entered an illegal gaming event held at Le Parc Dining and Banquet Hall.  Found inside were approximately 2,300 people who had been invited to an exclusive Super Bowl event centered on illegal gaming.  Patrons were found using computer terminals supplied by organizers of the event, placing illegal online wagers through the Platinum Sportsbook website.  That evening six people were arrested and charged with gaming-related offences, 10 search warrants were executed at various locations throughout the GTA and in London, ON, and more than $2.5 million in cash along with offence-related property was seized.

The second stage of this operation occurred on March 5, 2013, when officers from CFSEU and assisting agencies executed an additional 13 search warrants throughout the GTA, and in London.  As a result, officers arrested 18 people and seized approximately $1 million dollars cash, bank documents, computers and betting documents. Two handguns, one taser and six vehicles were also seized as offence related property.

Charges laid to date include: participation in a criminal organization; conspiracy to commit criminal offences; fail to comply; and proceeds of crime offences.

This two-year, joint-forces investigation undertaken by CFSEU with the assistance of Hamilton Police Service, London Police Service, Halton Police Service, Barrie Police Service and the Canada Border Services Agency centered around the criminality related to illegal gaming, the activities of Platinum Sportsbook and the violence associated to these criminal activities.  This investigation began as a result of a complaint from a person who said they were being extorted for money they owed to this group.  Police allege that if money borrowed from this organization could not be repaid, exorbitant interest rates were imposed; the borrowers were then unable to get out from under this mounting debt.  Violence was often used in an attempt to recoup money owed.

To date numerous tips and information has been provided by the public on the activities of Platinum Sportsbook.  CFSEU is continuing to request information regarding extortions, intimidations and acts of violence relating to debts owed to Platinum Sportsbook.  Please contact CFSEU at 1-800-387-0020

For photos from the Feb. 3rd seizures, visit: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/on/news-nouvelles/index-eng.htm

The CFSEU is a multi-jurisdictional unit, which includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police, the Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police, and the Durham Regional Police Service.  CFSEU is specifically tasked with the mandate to expose, investigate, prosecute and dismantle organized criminal enterprises.

SOURCE: Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit

For further information:

Sgt. Michele Paradis 
Media Relations 
905-405-3750 ex 238 (o) or 416-302-0250 (c)

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Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit

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