Feds Seek Prison Sentence for Prominent Player in Illegal Chicago Gambling Ring

Posted on: August 10, 2021, 01:39h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2021, 03:42h.

An Illinois man who pleaded guilty in April to his involvement with a major illegal gambling operation based in Chicago faces sentencing later this month.

gambling ring Chicago Illinois State University
Federal officials say Illinois State University was targeted by a criminal involved in an illegal sports gambling ring. Matthew Namoff, the mastermind of the sports betting network on the college campus, will be sentenced later this month after pleading guilty in April. (Image: Illinois State University)

Federal prosecutors are asking US District Judge Virginia Kendall to not go lightly on Matthew Namoff, who is now 25 years old. In a memo to Kendall, John Lausch, United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, argues Namoff deserves much more than a slap on the wrist. He was cited for his involvement in the illicit underground gambling network, which was led by 55-year-old Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice.

Namoff has admitted to facilitating illegal sports betting through DelGiudice’s network. Namoff recruited students at Illinois State University to gamble, providing them with access to an illicit offshore betting website — unclemicksports.com. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct an illegal gambling business.

Namoff ran a significant bookmaking operation on DelGiudice’s behalf at the state university. His clientele numbered more than 60 gamblers, and Namoff admitted to recruiting a police officer to become involved in the operation.

Kendall is set to sentence Namoff on August 23. He faces six months to a year in prison.

Substantial Punishment Requested

Attorneys representing Namoff say their client was dealing with undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder — commonly known as PTSD — while engaging in his illicit gambling activities. Defense attorney Darryl Goldberg says Namoff had difficulty making friends in high school, and found some sense of belonging after becoming acquainted with DelGiudice and being able to provide sports betting to his peers.

Goldberg said in his own memo to Kendall that Namoff was often drunk when inviting new clients to gamble through the illegal scheme.

Writing to Kendall on behalf of Lausch, Assistant US Attorney Terry Kinney said Namoff’s conduct warrants time behind bars.

Illicit gambling enterprises pose a significant challenge to law enforcement in this district, indicating the need for deterrence through sentences that impose incarceration,” Kinney argued.

“Individuals like the defendant view working for an illicit gambling enterprise as highly profitable with little risk; if caught, you keep your profits and get a slap on the wrist,” Kinney continued. “A sentence to include a term of incarceration will send a powerful message to Namoff and other individuals that working as an agent for an illicit gambling enterprise is a serious offense and will not be tolerated.”

Players Sentenced

Ten people were named when federal prosecutors brought charges against Vincent DelGiudice in early 2020. The Justice Department says the criminal business involved millions of dollars.

Last fall, Kendall sentenced DelGiudice’s 85-year-old father, Eugene, to three months of home detention for his role in collecting debts from gamblers and distributing wins.

Casey Urlacher, 41, the younger brother of former Chicago Bears legend and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, received a pardon from then-President Donald Trump as he exited office in January of this year. Urlacher, the current mayor of Mettawa, was facing charges for his alleged involvement in DelGiudice’s sports betting network.

Last month, former Chicago cop Nicholas Stella, 43, received 15 months in federal prison for his role as a top bookie in the organization. Another man, Todd Blanken, 44, was sentenced to six months in a community center — aka halfway house — for being a higher-up in DelGiudice’s fraudulent network.

DelGiudice pleaded guilty in February to gambling conspiracy and money laundering. He faces up to 25 years in prison, but no sentencing date has yet been scheduled.