Judge gives 18 months in prison to ‘Uncle Mick,’ who feds say ran massive Chicago-area gambling ring

Vincent DelGiudice’s sentencing comes near the end of a case that prosecutors said involved roughly 1,000 gamblers and millions of dollars. It also got the attention of the White House when then-President Donald Trump pardoned Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher.

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Vincent DelGiudice (right) and his attorney Carolyn Gurland leaving the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in March 2020.

Vincent DelGiudice (right) and his attorney Carolyn Gurland leaving the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in March 2020.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A federal judge gave 18 months in prison Wednesday to a man the feds say ran the largest, longest and most lucrative criminal gambling ring ever prosecuted in Chicago’s federal court.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall handed down the sentence to Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice at the end of an hourslong hearing at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. She also ordered him to pay a significant amount of forfeiture, including a $3.5 million judgment.

Kendall announced her sentence after noting that DelGiudice’s gambling ring reached into Illinois State University and involved the corruption of at least two police officers.

Earlier, DelGiudice thanked the judge and apologized to his family, saying, “What I did was wrong.”

DelGiudice’s sentencing comes near the end of a case that prosecutors said involved roughly 1,000 gamblers and millions of dollars. It got the attention of the White House when then-President Donald Trump pardoned Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher.

DelGiudice, Urlacher and eight others were first charged with a gambling conspiracy in February 2020. Three others have been charged in related prosecutions in Chicago’s federal court. But most have managed to avoid prison time.

The exceptions have been Chicago Police Officer Nicholas Stella, who was charged with DelGiudice and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and bookie Gregory Paloian, who was charged separately and was sentenced to 2 12 years.

Nicholas Stella leaving the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Wednesday morning.

Nicholas Stella leaving the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

DelGiudice pleaded guilty in February 2021 and admitted he ran the ring. The feds called it “a massive, high-stakes criminal” operation that also reached into California, Arizona and Kentucky and established a foothold at Illinois State University. They said it profited more than $8 million just in 2018.

When the feds searched DelGiudice’s home in April 2019, they said they found more than $1 million in cash, two cash-counting machines, gold bars, silver and jewelry.

DelGiudice admitted in his plea agreement that he ran the 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.

He also admitted retaining a company in Costa Rica to manage accounting and record-keeping and to manage his gambling website. He sent at least 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.

Last month, prosecutors alleged that DelGiudice hoped to keep the operation running even after his February 2020 indictment — only to be thwarted when Urlacher was charged and things got “hot.”

DelGiudice’s defense attorney denied it, insisting in a court memo that evidence shows “the vast majority of gambling activity ceased” immediately after the raid of DelGiudice’s home.

Casey Urlacher (right) walks with his attorney, Michael Gillespie, into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, Wednesday morning, March 4, 2020.

Casey Urlacher (right) walks with his attorney, Michael Gillespie, into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on March 4, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

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