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.