Gambling ring craps out

The Italian car wash boys got soaked Friday for running a lucrative betting ring.

The boss, the heavy and an extortion artist all copped guilty pleas relating to the illegal betting websites, which netted nearly $850,000 between February and July 2012.

Benedetto “Benny” Manasseri, 50, Stephen Parrish, 36, and Domenico Arecchi, 48 were arrested as part of Project Amethyst, which targeted organized crime and saw 21 people arrested.

Manasseri — known as the Car Wash Boy to members of another illegal betting group with whom he had a business understanding — was the boss.

A bettor told cops Manasseri was “top of the organization,” according to an OPP investigator’s report.

The bettor said he would call Manasseri if he ever had trouble collecting his winnings — and when Manasseri gave the “word,” the bettor got paid.

For instance, within 24 hours of a call to Manasseri in April 2012, the bettor was able to get his cash from a contact at the organization’s car wash.

Virtually no sporting event was off-limits to would-be punters.

The famous 2012 boxing bout between Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau attracted interest; the gang told one anxious bettor they’d look into posting odds for the match.

When the bettors lost and didn’t make good, they got to meet Parrish.

“See if he has $$ for us,” one of the managers texted Parrish about a slow payer.

Parrish, however, did not appear to be a knee-jerk legbreaker.

“He said by the first week of the month, you want me to bug him again now?” Parrish asked.

“Ya please,” came the reply.

“(The debtor) saw me today as promised so u can back off a bit till further notice (sic),” Parrish responded later.

The debtor told police he talked to “Steve” every two weeks as he slowly settled up.

Arecchi was also involved in the ring, but he had an extortion racket on the side.

He took a strip club owner for over $22,000 between February and March 2012, telling the peeler bar boss it was protection from “Toronto Bikers.”

It wasn’t.

Sentencing dates will be set in August; Crown prosecutor Julie Scott told the judge the case is unusual.

“This might be the first gaming (criminal organization) case in the country,” she said.

Another man, Gary Saikaley, admitted in April to managing the betting ring and got 18 months in jail.

From The Ottawa Sun. Find the article here.