ORLAND PARK, IL — An Orland Park man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday, for conducting an illegal sports gambling business and laundering the proceeds through an offshore company, according to the Northern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Vincent “Uncle Mick” Delgiudice, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering — which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison — and one count of conducting an illegal gambling business — which is punishable by up to five years, the plea states. He may also face a term of supervised release, of no more than three years.
Prosecutors said the multi-million illicit operation took bets on sporting events from as many of 1,000 gamblers on professional and amateur sports including football, basketball and baseball. According to the plea, Delgiudice admitted that from 2016 to 2019 he directed an illegal bookmaking business in Chicago, Lemont, Frankfort, Orland Park and Woodridge. He and his associates accepted wagers on the outcome of the sports, including some collegiate.
Delgiudice also admitted to the use of a sportsbook in Costa Rica to host a website called UncleMickSports.com, to manage wagers and track winnings and losses. Prosecutors said he used an encrypted cellphone app called Threema to communicate with representatives of the unnamed Costa Rican company. In 2018 and 2019 he sent the company at least $113,625 to keep the illegal business going, according to the plea agreement.
U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall did not immediately set a sentencing date, but a status hearing was set for March 8.
Nine other men, including Casey Urlacher, the younger brother of the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, were accused of running an illegal sports gambling business in February 2020. Urlacher was one of 73 people granted full pardons by former President Donald Trump.
Also charged in the February 2020 indictment were Matthew Knight, 46, of Mokena, also known as “Sweaters” and “McDougal;” 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; Vasilios Prassas, 37, of Chicago and Eugene “Gino” Delgiudice, 84, who prosecutors say helped collect debts and pay out winnings.
According to a motion filed on Jan. 21, 2021, Stella was released on bond in March 2020, and his bond was revoked, after he violently assaulted his girlfriend at the Crown Plaza Hotel on Jan. 16. His girlfriend, Veronica Michaud, said Stella tried to kill her, attempted to strangle her, hit her in the face, tore her blouse and stole her phone, so she can’t call 911, and then dragged her down the hallway before finally releasing her and fleeing, according to the motion.
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.