Ex-Cop Could Face Five-Year Prison Sentence for Allegedly Running Chicago Sports Betting Ring

  • 33-year-old John Amabile allegedly helped run the bookmaking operation in 2018 and 2019
  • Federal prosecutors are seeking a $100,000 forfeiture from the ex-Melrose Park cop
  • Amabile started working as a police officer in 2015 and resigned earlier this year
  • Head of the operation Gregory Paloian got a 30-month prison term last week after pleading guilty
  • Paloian and his agents were reportedly illegally generating hundreds of thousands of dollars 
  • The Amabile family is known to the authorities for having members with mob links
two hands holding rusty prison cell bars
Former Melrose Park police officer John Amabile is facing up to five years in federal prison for his alleged involvement in running an illegal gambling operation in Chicago. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Former police officer facing the heat

Former Melrose Park police officer John Amabile could face up to five years in federal prison for his alleged role in running an illegal sports betting operation in Chicago and nearby suburbs.

A Tuesday filing in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division outlined Amabile’s single-count charge of conducting, managing, and supervising an illegal gambling business involving sports bookmaking in 2018 and 2019. The operation was catering to gamblers in Chicago, Melrose Park, and Elmwood Park.

prosecutors are seeking a $100,000 forfeiture of alleged criminally derived proceeds

The prosecutors are seeking a $100,000 forfeiture of alleged criminally derived proceeds from Amabile. If convicted, the 33-year-old will also have to forfeit any other property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses. The date for the defendant’s federal court arraignment has not yet been set.

Amabile, who resigned from his position in the Melrose Park Police Department earlier this year, has not publicly commented on the allegations. He had been working as a Melrose Park police officer since 2015. In 2018, he had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, outlining tens of thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt.

Charge follows sentencing of head of lucrative operation

News of the charge against Amabile comes after Gregory Paloian, who headed the gambling ring and has ties to the Chicago mob, received a 30-month prison sentence last week. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of running an illegal gambling operation and filing a false tax return.

While Paloian admitted to running the gambling ring between 2015 and 2019 in the Chicago area, the federals authorities believe this operation was accepting bets as far back as 2012.

As part of his plea agreement, Paloian outlined how he had numerous agents working to recruit new gamblers. An overseas website was handling the bets and maintaining records. Paloian and his agents were reportedly generating “hundreds of thousands of dollars” through the betting ring.

Paloian and his agents were reportedly generating “hundreds of thousands of dollars”

Prosecutors previously stated that a veteran local police officer was one of the “most prolific agents” in the bookmaking business, which was catering to about 60 gamblers. The authorities were able to gather extensive information about the betting ring, aided by physical surveillance and wiretaps.

Amabile family links to organized crime

Amabile’s father is a former police lieutenant and one brother is a minor reality television star. His family also has some links to organized crime. One of his uncles had a conviction in 2015 as part of a mob-related extortion case, while his late grandfather was reportedly a “crime kingpin in the western suburbs.”

Some of Amabile’s family members have donated to the political campaigns of current Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico over the years. Numerous scandals within the police department have marred the mayor’s reign. They include a case of certain police officers showing support for a notorious biker gang, a former detective stealing drugs from the evidence room and selling them, and a former police chief sent to prison as part of an extortion and racketeering case.

Speaking on Tuesday about Amabile’s alleged role in the illegal gambling ring, Mayor Serpico said: “I can’t control people…Am I responsible for the world? I think the only thing we can be is responsible for ourselves.”

Another cop was caught up in a similar illegal gambling operation in the region. Chicago police officer Nicholas Stella pleaded guilty last week to having a role in a bookmaking operation headed by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice. Another defendant in the case was Casey Urlacher, the brother of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. He was facing up to ten years in prison for his alleged role as an agent in the betting operation when former US President Donald Trump issued him a pardon on his final day in office in January.