In Portland, Maine, a 62-year-old man has been caught running a multi-million dollar gambling scam over the past 14 years.
Stephen Mardigan was charged with running the operation from 2003 until April 2017.
$850,000 in cash
Mardigan last year pleaded guilty to the charges of running a gambling business, misdeclaring information he used in his company’s income tax return related to his car and also the more severe charge of money laundering.
During the case, it was revealed that Federal investigators seized around $850,000 in cash and jewelry from him and three others.
Up to 20 years in jail
Authorities believed that this was the largest operation into illegal gambling to be carried out in Maine. Currently, legal gambling in the state is limited to daily fantasy sports, two racetracks, two casinos, the state lottery, charitable gaming, and some gaming operations run by four Native American tribes.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Mardigan could have been facing a sentence of up to 20 years in jail for the money laundering charge alone, but it seems he has been granted a reprieve. The chief judge in the case, Jon Levy, said that the federal guidelines and other factors had reduced this significantly.
During the trial, the defense requested a light sentence of probation, while the federal prosecutor pushed for 21 months.
Mardigan instead received just 15 months as Levy declared that the crimes “were too serious” to not involve imprisonment.
Co-defendant William Hill had already been sentenced to two years’ probation last October.
Gambling not a “policy question”
The judge was quoted as saying: “Whether lawful gambling is a good or bad thing is not a policy question for a judge to decide. That’s for others to decide, but unlawful gambling is another matter entirely. It’s done in secret. It begets money laundering, as was the case here. It begets tax evasion, as was the case here. And it can ruin lives, as it has clearly done to Mr. Flynn and Mr. Mardigan.”
Mardigan blamed his gambling addiction on a $500 bet on a football game in his 30s. One of the gamblers he had taken bets from lost a total of $2 million over six years, while another was found to have deposited $1.4 million into Mardigan’s business bank account over the same period.
Mardigan mostly used the profits to purchase his 19 properties, valued at around $13 million in total.
Mardigan’s prosecution follows the scandal of two American nuns who were found to have stolen thousands of dollars from their Catholic school over the years – which they then blew on gambling weekends in Las Vegas.
In a case that shocked America, the two nuns stole as much as $500,000 (£397,862) from a Catholic school in California and took it to Las Vegas for weekends of sin going back a decade or more.
Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang are believed to have siphoned off cash from tuition fees and donations at St. James School in Torrance, near Los Angeles, for at least a decade. Neither has been charged with a crime.