Crime

Chicago Gambling Ring’s Alleged Key Player Avoids Prison

Todd Blanken, who allegedly was a key player in what was described as a “multi-million dollar” Chicago-based gambling ring, has avoided spending time in prison.

Casey Urlacher, mayor of Mettawa, Ill, shown here, avoided time in prison after he was pardoned by President Donald Trump for a federal gambling inquiry. Now, a co-defendant, Todd Blanken, has also avoided prison time. (Image: Rich Hein/Chicago Sun-Times)

On Monday, US District Judge Virginia Kendall sentenced the 44-year-old former resident of Cary, Ill. to six months in a community center.

He can work while staying in the center. He was also given two years of probation, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Prior to the sentence, Blanken apologized. In February, Blanken pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy. The judge said it was “admirable” he made some “tough decisions” and relocated to Arizona, the report adds.

International Gambling Ring

Prosecutors claim Blanken was a “trusted runner” for the gambling ring and recruited gamblers. His day job was working in the arbitration office of the Cook County courts, prosecutors added.

Recently, Blanken was working at Costco, defense attorneys claim.

In total, the ring involved over 1,000 gamblers nationwide, prosecutors said. A Costa Rican sportsbook also played a role. The wagers were on pro and amateur sports events, prosecutors said.

A Dozen Suspects Charged

Blanken was one of 10 suspects charged for allegedly playing a role in the gambling operation.

In January, President Trump pardoned Casey Urlacher, the brother of former Chicago Bears star Brian Urlacher, for his alleged role in the operation. He is the mayor of Mettawa, Ill.

Previously, Judge Kendall sentenced defendant Eugene DelGiudice to three months of home detention, the Sun-Times said. The 85-year-old patriarch of the gambling ring is reported to be ill, and as of last year, was taking care of his ailing wife.

Authorities allege the gambling operation was led by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice. Vincent DelGiudice is the son of Eugene DelGiudice, the Sun-Times said. In February, Vincent DelGiudice pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy and money laundering charges. He faces several years in prison when he is sentenced.

Multi-millions Siezed

A search of Vincent DelGiudice’s house in Orland Park, Ill. led to the seizure of more than $1.06 million in cash, silver bars, and jewelry valued at $347,895. Also seized were gold coins valued at $92,623.

Vincent DelGiudice allegedly paid the Costa Rica-based sportsbook $10,000 a week to use an online platform, WMAQ, a Chicago TV station, reported. Gamblers were also allegedly recruited.

At one point, authorities claimed the operation was tied to the gambling ring formerly operated by Gregory Paloian of Elmwood Park, Ill., the Sun-Times said.

The FBI’s Integrity in Sport and Gaming Initiative took part in the investigation. It addresses illegal sports gambling and threats of influence from criminal enterprises.

Ed Silverstein

Gaming Law, Tribal Gaming, Crime, Gaming Research----An award-winning journalist with credits ranging from the Associated Press to American Lawyer Media, Ed joined the Casino.org news team in 2019 with decades of legal reporting expertise under his belt. His past reporting and editing assignments include Cowles Business Media, Columbia University Press, the Connecticut Post, and Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc. Besides the law and its application to the gaming industry, Ed’s areas of expertise span business, courts, crime, politics, education, and state and local government. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut (where he now lives), and master’s degrees from Harvard and Yale, Ed’s professional awards include recognition from the New England Press Association and New England AP News Executives. Email: ed.silverstein@casino.org

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Ed Silverstein