Judge gives community confinement to ‘high stakes’ agent in massive gambling case

Justin Hines apologized to his family before he was sentenced. Federal prosecutors have described the international gambling ring he participated in as one of the largest ever uncovered in the history of Chicago’s federal court.

SHARE Judge gives community confinement to ‘high stakes’ agent in massive gambling case
Dirksen Federal Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St.

Justin Hines “netted little from his own activities in the gambling business,” his defense team said in a court filing.

Sun-Times file

A man described as “a long-term, high stakes agent” in a significant Chicago-area gambling ring must spend six months in community confinement, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall handed down the sentence to Justin Hines as the case into the gambling ring led by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice begins to wind down. Most defendants in the case have been sentenced, and many have avoided prison time.

DelGiudice, who pleaded guilty in February 2021, is scheduled to be sentenced March 9.

Federal prosecutors have described DelGiudice’s international gambling ring as one of the largest ever uncovered in the history of Chicago’s federal court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney wrote in a court memo that Hines recruited bettors, directed subagents, collected and paid out gambling debts and served as a bookie, all while working for the village of Wheeling.

A Wheeling official said Hines’ employment with the village ended more than a year ago. His lawyers wrote in their own memo that Hines has more recently been employed as a sales account manager, though they did not publicly disclose the name of his employer.

Kinney pointed out in his memo that one of Hines’ gamblers was so badly addicted to gambling that he now faces federal criminal charges in Indiana after stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his company.

Meanwhile, defense attorneys Kimberly Tarver and Victor Henderson wrote that Hines “netted little from his own activities in the gambling business.”

Before he was sentenced, Hines apologized to his family in court, including to his wife and in-laws. He even apologized to Kinney, telling the prosecutor that “what I did was wrong,” and that the case “probably saved my life. I know it did.”

The judge also gave Hines two years of probation and ordered him to serve 100 hours of community service. He pleaded guilty last October to a gambling conspiracy.

Kendall also gave community confinement sentences to Matthew Knight and Todd Blanken, who along with Hines and DelGiudice were among the 10 people charged in a February 2020 gambling indictment. The judge has so far handed down one prison sentence in the case, giving 15 months to Chicago Police Officer Nicholas Stella.

Also named in that indictment was Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, who was pardoned in January 2021 by then-President Donald Trump.

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