Chicago bookie cashed in with offshore website to dodge lawsuit payments: feds

Michael Frontier ran an illegal sportsbook though a website based in Costa Rica, federal prosecutors said.

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Federal prosecutors say a Chicago man ran an illegal online sportsbook.

Federal prosecutors say a Chicago man ran an illegal online sportsbook.

Sun-Times files

A Chicago man allegedly ran an illegal online sportsbook and hid his winnings to avoid paying off a million-dollar lawsuit judgment against him.

That’s according to 14-count federal indictment announced Friday against Michael Frontier, who also went by the names Ira Goldberg, Brian Seagal and Matthew Sullivan while taking bets here and wiring the proceeds to Costa Rica, where the website’s offshore servers were located, prosecutors said.

Frontier, 35, paid a service fee to use the website’s platform, then collected wagers in cash from bettors in the city, prosecutors said.

He served as bookie for a handful of Chicago-area gamblers who told investigators they lost tens of thousands of dollars on bets they placed with Frontier between 2010 and 2016, according to an affidavit from the FBI agent who investigated the case.

During that time, Frontier filed for bankruptcy after a DuPage County judge ordered him to pay $1.5 million in a personal injury lawsuit filed by a man who crashed a motorcycle Frontier had helped repair, the affidavit said.

Frontier didn’t report his illegal gambling profits and, telling authorities he was only scraping by with carpentry and painting odd jobs, was able to settle the negligence case for just $4,500, prosecutors said.

Frontier’s attorney said they were still reviewing the indictment Friday and declined to comment.

He faces five counts of money laundering, five counts of making a false statement in a bankruptcy case, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, and one count each of conducting an illegal gambling business and making a false declaration before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Each money laundering count carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. The others are punishable up to five years.

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