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Global gambling ring had 'significant' operation at Illinois State University, prosecutors say

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BLOOMINGTON — A Chicago-based worldwide gambling ring had a significant operation at Illinois State University, federal prosecutors said in a memo. 

Matthew Namoff, 25, ran a bookmaking operation at ISU for Vincent “Uncle Mick” Delgiudice, where he recruited students, a “deep pockets” gambler and a police officer to Delgiudice’s ring, according to a sentencing memo written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney.

“Of particular significance in considering the seriousness of the offense is the fact that Namoff ran this illegal operation at a college campus,” prosecutors wrote in the memo dated Monday. “This was a sophisticated and professional operation that Namoff managed.”

Namoff is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23. Kinney recommended a prison sentence for Namoff.

An Illinois State University spokesperson declined to comment on the case Tuesday.

Namoff’s defense lawyer, Darryl Goldberg, said the 25-year-old was suffering from then-undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from when he was robbed at gunpoint in his first weeks at college. Goldberg also said Namoff was “already a shy teenager” who was bullied and eventually found a social connection with others over sports and sports betting.

Goldberg recommended Namoff be sentenced to probation.

Kinney said that prosecutors have not obtained all of Namoff’s ledger sheets with Delgiudice, but the ones they do have, show that gamblers owed him more than $20,000.

The memo said Delgiudice told an associate of his that Namoff had worked with him for more than three years, had 60 gamblers, and was a 50/50 partner with him. According to a factual basis statement, the gambling conspiracy took place between 2017 and 2019.

In one instance, Namoff pitched to Delgiudice a new gambler who was a friend of his, and also a police officer. Namoff vouched for the police officer, telling Delgiudice that he had bet with him before he became a police officer. Delgiudice told Namoff to "keep him on a short leash," the memo said.

Throughout that conversation, the memo said, Delgiudice told Namoff that he had city workers, police and fire fighters betting through him.

Court documents said Namoff recruited and managed student gamblers at ISU, and provided them with log-ins and passwords to Delgiudice's website to place wagers and see the odds on professional and collegiate sports.

Federal prosecutors in 2020 filed a separate indictment against Delgiudice, of Orland Park, alleging he was part of an offshore sports gambling ring and recruited and managed bettors.

Namoff was initially charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, illegal gambling, and money laundering. He pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to conduct an illegal gambling business.

Among those charged was Casey Urlacher, the brother of Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher.

According to the indictment, Delgiudice paid a Costa Rica-based sportsbook a service fee to use its online platform and recruited gamblers to place wagers on his website.

Agents searching his home in 2019 found $1.1 million in cash and nearly $500,000 in silver bars, gold coins and jewelry, the indictment said. 

Casey Urlacher was later pardoned by President Donald Trump.

Delgiudice pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to conduct an illegal gambling business and money laundering — two of his initial nine charges.

One of the 10 defendants in the case has been sentenced to prison. Nicholas Stella, a former Chicago police officer, was sentenced to 15 months in prison last month.


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