MMA Fighter Turned Bookie Gets Two Years in Chicago Mob-Linked Case

Posted on: April 22, 2024, 06:24h. 

Last updated on: April 23, 2024, 10:17h.

A former MMA fighter turned illegal Mob-linked bookie who claims to have reformed his ways was sentenced to two years in prison Friday.

Michael Frontier, bookie, illegal sports betting, Chicago Outfit, Mafia
The impressively tattooed Michael Frontier pictured in court, above. Frontier claims he turned his life around since leaving the illegal gambling biz in 2016/ (Image: Chicago Tribune)

Michael Frontier from Chicago pleaded guilty in January to running an illegal gambling operation between 2015 and 2016. His case was part of a sprawling federal investigation into the Chicago Outfit’s notorious Elmwood Park and Grand Avenue street crews, according to court documents.

Frontier was caught discussing his illegal betting operations in FBI wiretaps that targeted major movers in the Outfits gambling and prostitution rackets.

FBI Wiretap

Frontier wasn’t accused of being a member of the Mafia himself, but he did admit to managing a team of five agents who recruited gamblers and collected debts for his pay-per-head betting operation. He also admitted to earning substantial income through illegal gambling.

Frontier failed to declare this during 2015 bankruptcy proceedings as he sought to dodge paying a $1.5 million civil judgment as a result of a motorcycle accident.

At his bankruptcy hearing, Frontier claimed to be a painter and carpenter who made just $7,500 in gross earnings for the year. However, he was caught on wiretaps threatening gamblers with violence when they didn’t pay up, according to court filings.

One gambler testified that when he couldn’t pay, Frontier put him in touch with a money lender. When he met with the moneylender, he was set upon by several men and beaten, according to court documents.

‘Different Person’

A heavily tattooed Frontier apologized to US District Judge John Robert Blakey before sentencing, claiming he had turned his life around after quitting the illegal gambling business in 2016 before he knew he was under investigation, as reported by The Chicago Tribune.

I’m a whole different person from that time until now,” he said. “I’ve changed my life and I’m just hoping I get a second chance.”

Since quitting the bookmaking business, Frontier now works for a successful cannabis company, Verano, and is also expecting his first child, his lawyer said.

On his LinkedIn page, now deleted, he described himself as “a clairvoyant, intuitive life coach, reiki master, reflexologist, and keynote speaker.”

As part of the wider investigation, federal agents had been wiretapping suspected members of the Chicago Outfit. These included a relative of reputed Elmwood Park capo and Mob bookmaker Joseph “Joe Gags” Gagliano.

Another was Marco “The Mover” D’Amico who is believed to have headed up the Outfit’s illegal sports betting operations for decades before his death in 2020 at age 84.