Money laundering, gambling conspiracy charges
The head of an illegal multi-million dollar sports betting operation in Illinois has pleaded guilty to federal charges at Dirksen US Courthouse.
a possible prison term of 18 months
Ring leader Vincent “Uncle Mick” Del Giudice admitted to money laundering and gambling conspiracy charges on Tuesday. He is now looking at a possible prison term of 18 months, with no sentencing date in place yet. Prosecutors are attempting to secure a personal money judgment of $8m against the defendant. Del Giudice’s attorney is planning to contest the amount of the forfeiture.
Prosecutors are also looking to seize Del Giudice’s home along with expensive items the authorities found at his residence in an April 2019 raid. The objects include $347,895 worth of jewelry and silver bars, gold coins with a value of $92,623, and a 2017 Lexus car. During the raid, officers also found $1.1m in cash.
The brother of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, Casey Urlacher, was also allegedly involved in the illegal betting operation. He no longer faces charges after receiving a pardon from former US President Donald Trump.
Breakdown of the illegal operation
Vincent Del Giudice allegedly used a Costa Rica-based online sportsbook as a base for his illegal operation. He was paying a $10,000 weekly service fee to the company to utilize its turnkey software with the name Uncle Mick Sports.
Del Giudice recruited agents to find potential gamblers. Uncle Mick Sports customers would then receive a username and password to access the platform and place wagers. No financial transactions took place online; instead, agents would pay out profits or collect losses in person.
According to the indictment, the head of the operation was communicating regularly with each agent, discussing the losses of their respective gamblers. Their communication was often through coded language.
a client base of about 1,000 gamblers
Evidence from physical surveillance and wiretaps showed that the operation had a client base of about 1,000 gamblers, as well as having approximately 30 agents. Prosecutors alleged that the illegal sports betting ring was victimizing addicted gamblers.
Urlacher gets a presidential pardon
Casey Urlacher was allegedly acting as an agent in the illegal sports betting scheme, signing up gamblers to Del Giudice’s operation and getting a share of their subsequent losses. He was looking at a prison sentence of up to ten years as a result of two criminal charges.
Urlacher pleaded not guilty to the charges in March 2020 and claimed he did not know Del Giudice. Despite the allegations, Urlacher remained in his role of Mayor of Mettawa, a small suburb of Chicago.
Donald Trump granted Urlacher executive clemency during his final hours in office, along with 142 other people. One reason given by the White House for Urlacher’s pardon was his “commitment to public service.”
Others involved in the case
Despite the ring leader’s guilty plea, six other individuals who were allegedly involved pleaded not guilty to their charges. A police officer is among the accused.
Nicholas Stella, who worked at the Chicago Police Department for almost 20 years, was allegedly an agent in the sports betting scheme. Following the charges, Stella was suspended from his duties.
The 85-year-old father of Vincent Del Giudice also received a sentence of probation with three months’ home detention in October 2020 for his role in the gambling operation. Both father and son had also pleaded guilty in 1996 to running an illegal gambling scheme.
Assistant US Attorney Terry Kinney has also shown links between Del Giudice’s betting ring and Gregory Paloian’s bookmaking operation in Chicago. The latter, who is connected to the Chicago mob, pleaded guilty in early January to federal gambling charges.