Cops detail betting operation

Police allege that ring used an offshore Web site to maintain records

Section: Capital Region,  Page: D9

Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ALBANY - A Latham-based gambling ring that reeled in $57 million in sports bets over 18 months used an Internet Web site in Costa Rica to solicit wagers and maintain illegal records, police said Monday.

Operating locally out of the Veteran Friendship social club on Route 9, the betting outfit stretched to Syracuse, taking in wagers on college and professional basketball, football, NASCAR rac ing and Ultimate Fighting Championship competition, authorities said. Bettors and bookies used an offshore Web site - - that kept records of the bets being placed, police said.

Investigators cracked the ring, which they dubbed the Bedigian-Carucci Bookmaking Operation, after they received a tip, Inspector John Burke of the Albany County Sheriff's Department told reporters. He called it the largest gambling bust he's ever seen in the Capital Region.

The Times Union first reported details of the ring on Saturday, following the arraignment of 12 men and one woman a day earlier in state Supreme Court in Albany. The ring was headed by George Bedigian, 63, of Syracuse and Joseph "Oink" Carucci, 62, of Latham, authorities said.

Bedigian, who uses a wheelchair, has more than two dozen prior nonfelony arrests. He was charged in Syracuse in 2005 in what was described as that city's largest-ever gambling bust. Carucci, meanwhile, was charged along with his son, daughter and grandson.

Both Carucci and Bedigian were charged with enterprise corruption, the state version of the federal racketeering law.

The Albany County district attorney's office, State Police and Albany police also were involved in the bust.