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Two weeks after Casey Urlacher pardon, co-defendant pleads guilty to running sports gambling ring

After news of the pardon broke, Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice said of Urlacher, “I am happy for him and his family. God bless them.”

Vincent DelGiudice, right, walks with his attorney, Carolyn Gurland, out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in March 2020.
Vincent DelGiudice, right, walks with his attorney, Carolyn Gurland, out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in March 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Two weeks after Donald Trump handed Casey Urlacher a full pardon in the final hours of Trump’s presidency, the lead defendant in the case that put Urlacher in legal jeopardy pleaded guilty to a federal gambling charge in a Chicago courtroom.

Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice, 55, of Orland Park, admitted Tuesday he ran an illegal sports gambling ring based around Chicago that allegedly involved as many as 1,000 gamblers and netted DelGiudice $8 million.

He pleaded guilty to a gambling conspiracy and money laundering in a rare, in-person hearing on the 25th floor of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney told U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall the evidence against DelGiudice involved recordings made at DelGiudice’s home, “confessions” by a number of DelGiudice’s agents and statements from gamblers. He also tied DelGiudice to the case of Gregory Paloian, a man with purported mob ties who pleaded guilty last month to running an illegal sports gambling operation.

Kinney is also handling Paloian’s case, and he hinted last month that it involved expansive evidence and “a large number” of recordings.

Prosecutors have said authorities found more than $1 million in cash in DelGiudice’s home in April 2019, along with $92,623 in gold coins and $347,895 in silver bars and jewelry.

DelGiudice admitted in his plea agreement Tuesday that he ran a sports bookmaking business from 2016 to 2019 in Chicago, Lemont, Frankfort, Orland Park and Woodridge. He recruited agents to help him take bets on football, basketball, baseball, hockey and college sporting events, it said.

He also admitted retaining a company in Costa Rica to manage accounting and record-keeping and to run a gambling website. He sent 12 cashier’s checks totaling $113,625 from Orland Park to that company in Costa Rica between March 2018 and March 2019, according to the plea agreement.

The admissions could put him in prison for more than two years.

DelGiudice was one of 10 people charged in connection with the gambling ring early in 2020. Also charged was Urlacher, mayor of north suburban Mettawa and brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher. After Trump pardoned Casey Urlacher, DelGiudice said in a statement through his attorney, “I am happy for him and his family. God bless them.”

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 put another defendant in the case behind bars last month after Kinney said Chicago Police Officer Nicholas Stella “violently assaulted his girlfriend.” Kinney also told the judge that, when another judge issued a search warrant for Stella’s phone in the gambling investigation, Stella destroyed it “before we were able to execute the search warrant.”

Prison records show Stella is being held in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center.