Michael Kriaris, 39, of Toronto and a 43-year-old Augustino Valenzisi, of Vaughan, Ont., were arrested Wednesday by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), a joint task force including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and regional police services.
Both men were charged with committing a criminal offence for the benefit of a criminal organization and conspiracy to commit the indictable offence of engaging in bookmaking, police said in a release Wednesday. Kriaris also faces a charge of instructing a person to commit an indictable offence, it added.
Police also issued warrants for the same offences for Abraham Diles, 47, from Stouffville, Ont., and Jeffrey Fuchs, 35. and Hiesam Kadri, 41, who are both from London, Ont.
The arrests come more than a month after a police raid on Super Bowl gambling party at a Markham, Ont. banquet hall on Feb. 3, in which police seized $2.5 million in cash and arrested six people. The party was organized by an online gambling site called Platinum SB, police said. Nine other raids were conducted at the same time across the GTA and other parts of Ontario.
This was followed by another round of raids earlier this month, in which 18 people were charged and seized $1.6 million in cash, weapons, and other documentation "relating to criminal organizations", police said.
Police said Wednesday's raids were the "third phase" of their investigation.
“The arrests today are the third phase of the investigation into illegal gaming and Platinum Sportsbook,” said Superintendent Keith Finn, Officer in Charge of CFSEU, in a statement. “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.”Suggest a correction