Another Urlacher co-defendant pleads guilty to role in sports gambling ring

Todd Blanken is the second person to plead guilty since then-President Donald Trump pardoned Casey Urlacher, the Mettawa mayor also charged in the case who is now running for reelection.

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The Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Sun-Times file

For the second time since then-President Donald Trump pardoned Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, one of Urlacher’s co-defendants in a federal sports gambling case has pleaded guilty to a gambling conspiracy and faces time behind bars.

Meanwhile, Lake County officials say Urlacher has filed to run as a write-in candidate for another term as mayor of the northern suburb. He is the brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher.

Todd Blanken, 44, pleaded guilty during a brief electronic hearing Friday before U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall, who told him he would likely face six months to a year behind bars. Blanken’s sentencing has been set for May 13.

A 28-page indictment filed in February 2020 accused Blanken of working for Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice as an agent in the sports bookmaking business DelGiudice ran from 2016 to 2019 in Chicago, Lemont, Frankfort, Orland Park and Woodridge. DelGiudice pleaded guilty in the case Feb. 2.

The indictment alleged that Blanken helped DelGiudice collect and pay cash to gamblers. Blanken’s plea agreement says the two shared winnings and losses “on a 10 to 50% basis.” On Dec. 11, 2018, DelGiudice told Blanken he needed to collect a “dime” —or $1,000 —from a gambler known as “Rock,” according to the plea agreement. A few days later, it said DelGiudice told Blanken he owed $1,880, and Blanken told DelGiudice he would be collecting from “another gambler on Wells Street.”

On Jan. 6, 2019, Blanken complained to DelGiudice about losing money on “parlays” and “teasers,” according to the plea agreement. It said DelGiudice told Blanken he had more than 1,000 gamblers and complained that he had only made $100,000 from them. They also discussed a gambler who lost $22,000 that week, according to the document.

DelGiudice’s father, Eugene “Geno” DelGiudice, also pleaded guilty in July to conspiring to conduct an illegal gambling business. In October, Kendall gave Eugene DelGiudice three months of home detention.

She also recently put another defendant in the case, Chicago Police Officer Nicholas Stella, in jail after prosecutors said Stella “violently assaulted his girlfriend” and argued he should be locked up pending trial.

Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney this month linked the DelGiudice case to the prosecution of Gregory Paloian, a man with purported mob ties who pleaded guilty last month to running an illegal sports gambling operation. Kinney has said the evidence in both cases include several secret recordings.

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