Ten Defendants Charged With Illegally Conducting Multi-Million Dollar Sports Gambling Business
Ten defendants have been charged in federal court with conspiring to illegally conduct a multi-million dollar sports gambling business in the Chicago area.
VINCENT DELGIUDICE, also known as “Uncle Mick,” directed an operation that accepted wagers from as many as 1,000 gamblers on the outcome of professional and amateur sporting events, according to a nine-count indictment returned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Delgiudice paid a service fee to a foreign sportsbook for use of its platform, and recruited gamblers to place wagers on a website, www.unclemicksports.com, according to the charges. Delgiudice sometimes communicated with representatives of the sportsbook via an anonymous, end-to-end encrypted messaging application to ensure their communications remained secret, the indictment states.
The indictment alleges that Delgiudice also recruited several individuals to work on behalf of his gambling operation. These agents enlisted new gamblers and worked with Delgiudice to collect or pay out cash depending on the outcome of wagers, the indictment states. Delgiudice paid the agents a commission based on a percentage of losses incurred by the gamblers they recruited, the charges allege.
A law enforcement search of Delgiudice’s residence in Orland Park seized more than $1.06 million in cash; silver bars and jewelry valued at $347,895; and gold coins valued at $92,623. The indictment seeks forfeiture of these items, as well as Delgiudice’s residence. It also seeks a personal money judgment against Delgiudice of $8 million.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ankur Srivastava, Terry Kinney, and Abigail Peluso.
The FBI’s Integrity in Sport and Gaming Initiative (ISG) is designed to tackle illegal sports gambling and combat threats of influence from criminal enterprises.
The indictment charges Delgiudice, 54, with one count of conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business, one count of conducting an illegal gambling business, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and six counts of money laundering.
The indictment charges eight alleged agents of Delgiudice’s operation with one count of participating in the gambling conspiracy and one count of conducting an illegal gambling business: MATTHEW KNIGHT, also known as “Sweaters” and “McDougal,” 46, of Mokena; JUSTIN HINES, 40, of Algonquin; KEITH D. BENSON, 49, of Lemont; TODD BLANKEN, 43, of Cary; NICHOLAS STELLA, 42, of Chicago; MATTHEW NAMOFF, 23, of Midlothian; CASEY URLACHER, 40, of Libertyville; and VASILIOS PRASSAS, 37, of Chicago. The tenth defendant, EUGENE DELGIUDICE, also known as “Gino,” 84, of Orland Park, allegedly assisted in the collection or paying out of cash to gamblers recruited by Vincent Delgiudice. Eugene Delgiudice is charged with one count of participating in the gambling conspiracy and one count of conducting an illegal gambling business.
Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each money laundering count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, while the other counts in the indictment are each punishable by up to five years. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.