Jan 15, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Just in time for the college bowl season and the National Football League playoffs, Syracuse super-bookie George Bedigian was released Nov. 30, 2009, from the state’s Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, N.Y.
A wheelchair-bound quadriplegic, Bedigian had been housed at the facility’s Walsh Regional Medical Unit.
He was released in time to celebrate his 65th birthday on Dec. 6.
In 2005, Bedigian was one of three Syracuse men arrested and charged with running a $20.3 million Central New York gambling business. Then, in late-March 2009, the three men were busted again and accused of operating a $50 million Internet sports betting ring since September 2006.
Besides Bedigian, of 809 N. McBride St., also arrested were Salvatore Tumino, now 72, of North Salina Street; and Michael LoSurdo, 43, of Lakeside Road. Ten other alleged conspirators primarily from the Albany area were also arrested at that time.
Bedigian and LoSurdo were charged with enterprise corruption, New York state’s equivalent of the federal racketeering law. Tumino was charged with fourth-degree money laundering.
Bets were accepted on college sports, NFL and NBA games, boxing, Ultimate Fighting Championships and NASCAR. The 25 original charges included first-degree gambling promotion, possession of gambling records and conspiracy.
In Albany on Oct. 28, 2008, Bedigian pleaded guilty to two counts of promoting gambling, both felonies. He was sentenced Feb. 3, 2009, to one to three years.
After serving nearly 11 months, however, Bedigian was released four days after Thanksgiving. His incarceration in a state prison hospital cost the state an estimated $145,000 annually, about $100,000 more than the cost of housing general population inmates.
Because the Walsh Regional Medical Unit treats prisoners of all security levels, it is a maximum-security island, fenced off in the middle of the sprawling Mohawk campus. The state Department of Correctional Services opened Walsh in 1991 with 60 beds. It now has 112 beds for inmates who warrant 24-hour skilled nursing care.
More than four decades ago Bedigian was severely injured in a diving accident at a local reservoir.
At Bedigian’s sentencing last February, his attorney, William Dreyer, asked Albany County Court Judge Stephen Herrick to consider an Onondaga County probation report suggesting an alternative to incarceration due to the “severe nature” of Bedigian’s paralysis. The judge acknowledged reviewing the report, but still sentenced Bedigian to prison.
More than a dozen of Bedigian’s friends and business associates, some from as far away as Boston and Las Vegas, turned out for his sentencing to show their support, according to the Albany Times-Union.
Bedigian had been arrested at his Prospect Hill home on March 28, 2008, after an 18-month probe into what investigators called the “Bedigian-Carucci Bookmaking Operation.” His alleged co-ringleader was identified as Joseph “Oink” Carucci, 64, of Latham, a hamlet on Route 9 between Albany and Schenectady.
While Carucci’s operation was based at Latham’s Veteran Friendship club, Bedigian conducted business by phone and computer from his North Side home, authorities said.
In less than two years he earned between $3 million to $5 million, according to Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
Over the years, Bedigian has been arrested at least two dozen times on gambling charges.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has declined to ask for prison time for Bedigian, he said, because the bookie has no ties to organized crime, imprisoning a quadriplegic is expensive and prosecutors prioritize violent crimes over gambling offences.