Milton “Whitey” Benoit
“Bookie, bouncer, bootlegger, and forger”.
Milton Ernest Benoit (1907-1997) was famous in Windsor for all the wrong reasons. That is to say he was not a law-abiding citizen.
Most people knew him as “Whitey”. He was the son of Vital Benoit (1877-1957), a local real estate agent, hotel owner and mayor of LaSalle. Milton received his education from the “School of Hard Knocks”. He learned the tricks of the trade from the streets of Windsor – shipping diamonds to the Purple Gang in Detroit, smuggling booze across the Detroit River, and acting as a bookie. During Prohibition, he also acted as a bouncer in some of the brothels located in the seedier part of town.
In the 1950’s Whitey became more infamous for running a forged cheque cashing ring in southern Ontario. Eventually, he was caught and served time in Kingston Penitentiary. Benoit was the brains behind the whole operation, and never cashed a cheque himself. He let a number of his associates do the transactions.
In his later years, Milton stayed in Windsor. He lived a quiet life, but could not resist taking bets on the horse races and supplying liquor after hours to his friends. He died in 1998.
“Deaths.” Windsor Star, July 24, 1998.
Gervais, Marty. My Town: Faces of Windsor. Windsor, Ont.: Biblioasis, 2006. 205.
Gervais, Marty. The Rumrunners: A Prohibition Scrapbook. Rev. Ed ed. Windsor, Ont.: Biblioasis, 2009. 223.
Phillips, Alan. “How they captured the king of the forgers.” Maclean’s Magazine, January 15, 1955, 14-15, 42-52.