A former top outlaw biker deserves up to two years in jail for his role in the "huge" criminal gambling organization that prompted a massive police raid on a lavish Super Bowl party four years ago, a prosecutor urged Wednesday morning in a Toronto court.
Sentencing arguments were heard for Billy Miller, former head of the North Toronto chapter of the Hells Angels, who was found guilty earlier this year of participating in the bookmaking operations of a sophisticated sports-betting enterprise police had alleged was linked to biker gangs and the Italian Mafia.
The operation, called Platinum Sportsbook, ran a website off servers in Costa Rica that used to take bets from thousands of gamblers across Southern Ontario on everything from horse racing to college football. It also hosted ritzy, catered Super Bowl parties every year for its clients featuring gambling, models and door prizes like jetskis and TVs.
After undercover investigators infiltrated the group, police cracked down in 2013, with hundreds of officers, some in commando gear, raiding that year's Super Bowl party at a banquet hall north of Toronto. The 2,300 stunned partygoers watched as Miller and five others were taken away in handcuffs.
Miller, 54, was acquitted on an extortion charge on March 17 but convicted of bookmaking "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with" Platinum, a crime under Section 467.12 of the Criminal Code. The maximum penalty is 14 years in prison, though Crown prosecutor Henry Poon on Wednesday asked the judge for a jail sentence of one to two years.
"It's clear Mr. Miller exercised authority," he said. "That invites the inference that Mr. Miller was one of the leaders of the organization ... which you've heard is a huge organization."
Defence lawyer Paula Rochman said the judge should consider imposing a suspended sentence, a substantial fine or, at the worst, no more than six months in jail. She said the evidence presented in court only shows Miller was involved in Platinum for a short period, and doesn't prove at all that he had a leadership role.
"It was clearly a large-scale organization involving substantial amounts of money, but none of it is attributable to Mr. Miller," she said.
Miller, who has a criminal record for weapons- and gaming-related charges dating back to 2003, was given an opportunity to make a statement to the court but declined. He would not comment to a reporter outside of court. The court heard he now mostly lives in the Dominican Republic, where he's involved in a cigar business.
There was no evidence at his trial to tie him or Platinum to either of the Mafia or the Hells Angels.
Most of the other people arrested as part of the Platinum investigation have either had their charges dropped or pleaded guilty to gambling or criminal-organization offences, receiving sentences ranging from house arrest and fines to 18 months in jail. The man who prosecutors allege was the ultimate leader of the business, David Hair, is scheduled to go on trial next year.
Judge Michael Brown will pronounce Miller's sentence in September.
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