Feds say massive gambling ring reached campus of Illinois State University

Prosecutors want prison time for Matthew Namoff, who they said “facilitated gambling by underage students” as part of operation once run by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice.

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Illinois State University

Illinois State University campus

Sun-Times file photo

Federal prosecutors say a massive international gambling ring based around Chicago reached into the campus of Illinois State University, where a key player in the ring allegedly “ran a significant bookmaking operation.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney insisted in a court memo Monday that Matthew Namoff, 25, deserves to spend time behind bars, pointing in part to Namoff’s alleged venture at Illinois State. The prosecutor also wrote that Namoff brought a “deep-pockets” gambler and a police officer into the ring once led by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice.

“Matthew Namoff played an important role in DelGiudice’s illicit business — as an agent, he ran DelGiudice’s bookmaking operation on a college campus, which facilitated gambling by underage students,” Kinney wrote.

An Illinois State spokesman did not comment on the claim Monday when contacted by the Chicago Sun-Times. Darryl Goldberg, Namoff’s defense attorney, wrote in his own memo Monday that Namoff had difficulty making friends in high school and began making small bets with other students in order to bond with his peers.

Goldberg wrote that Namoff — while drunk and dealing with an undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder from a violent robbery — bragged that he knew of DelGiudice and his gambling website.

He asked the judge to spare Namoff from prison.

So far, a February 2020 gambling indictment that included charges against Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher has only led to prison time for one of the 10 people charged. U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall sentenced veteran Chicago Police Officer Nicholas Stella last month to 15 months behind bars for his role as a bookie in the gambling ring.

Donald Trump pardoned Urlacher during the final hours of his presidency last January. Urlacher is the brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher. 

Namoff is set to be sentenced Aug. 23. He pleaded guilty to a gambling conspiracy in April.

DelGiudice, who pleaded guilty in February, once boasted that Namoff had worked with him for more than three years, had 60 gamblers and was a 50/50 partner with DelGiudice, Kinney wrote in his memo. The prosecutor also wrote that Namoff “recruited and managed student gamblers” at Illinois State and “supplied them with log-ins and passwords which he acquired from DelGiudice so they could place wagers through DelGiudice’s website.”

Finally, Kinney wrote that Namoff wanted to recruit a friend who was a police officer into the ring in January 2019. DelGiudice allegedly told Namoff he had city workers, police and firefighters betting through him. He also allegedly told Namoff about Stella’s role in the ring. 

Namoff vouched for the police officer, and DelGiudice told him to “keep him on a short leash,” Kinney wrote.

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