Vic racing identity fights betting charges

Bill Vlahos (centre) arrives at the Melbourne Magistrates Court
Bill Vlahos has pleaded not guilty to 350 charges related to his BC3 Thoroughbreds syndicate.

Fallen Victorian racing identity Bill Vlahos will fight hundreds of fraud and deception charges over a betting syndicate in which investors lost millions of dollars.

The former BC3 Thoroughbreds chairman pleaded not guilty in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday to 349 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to destroy documents to be used as evidence.

He is accused of defrauding hundreds of investors through his betting syndicate, The Edge, between 2008 and 2013.

“I find the evidence is of sufficient weight to support a conviction for each of those charges,” magistrate Donna Bakos told the court.

The matter had been scheduled for a pre-trial committal hearing, with more than 80 witnesses expected to give evidence.

The court was previously told Vlahos’ syndicate had more than 1000 members before its 2013 collapse when punters wanted to cash out.

Investors believed their money was being placed on horse races, and that they were earning lucrative annual returns.

Additional counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception were withdrawn against Vlahos in 2017.

This meant a reduction in the amount of money he was accused of scamming, from $120 million to $40 million, the court was previously told.

Vlahos is due to face the County Court for a directions hearing on Tuesday.