The Federal Government says Todd Blanken played a key role in an “absolutely massive, long-term and very profitable” Chicago-based international gambling network.
Their investigation led early last year to charges against Blanken, the mayor of Mettawa, Casey Urlacher, and eight others. On Monday, a prosecutor even hinted that a well-known sports figure “whose name we all know” had participated.
But Blanken is now the last defendant in the case to avoid jail time, as U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall sentenced Blanken on Monday to six months in community detention, as well as two years of probation.
Although Kendall said that “the sheer extent of this matter was remarkable,” she noted that Blanken had moved to Arizona, “made some tough decisions” and “separated from this community.”
“I think it’s admirable,” Kendall said.
The judge told Blanken that his sentence means he will live in a community center, but will be able to work.
“I fully understand that what I did was wrong,” Blanken said before being sentenced, apologizing to his family and the judge.
Blanken, 44, is the second of 10 people indicted in a February 2020 gambling indictment to be sentenced. He is the first since Donald Trump pardoned Urlacher in the last hours of his presidency last January, sparing the brother of the great Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears.
Last fall, Kendall also gave three months of house arrest to Eugene DelGiudice, an elderly defendant whom US Assistant Prosecutor Terry Kinney described on Monday as “gravely, gravely ill”.
Blanken pleaded guilty on February 12. Kinney later wrote in a court note that Blanken “played a pivotal role in the operation and management” of the gaming network led by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice, which involved more than 1,000 players in Illinois. and in other states. On Monday, Kinney said the ring’s reach was international.
Vincent DelGiudice is the son of Eugène DelGiudice.
Kinney called it “one of the largest book-making operations ever” in the Federal Court District of Chicago. He previously linked it to the Mafia-Connected Gaming Network once run by bookmaker Gregory Paloian of Elmwood Park.
The prosecutor wrote that Blanken served as a “trusted runner” for Vincent DelGiudice and two of his most important agents – Matthew Knight and Justin Hines – and also recruited players for Vincent DelGiudice.
Vincent DelGiudice pleaded guilty in February. Knight pleaded guilty in March, but charges are still pending against Hines.
Kinney said Blanken managed a number of players and shared “a generous chunk of their losses” with Vincent DelGiudice. He collected from two of the most important players who bet with Vincent DelGiudice, collecting regular payouts of $ 1,500 from a player who owed Vincent DelGiudice around $ 600,000.
Vincent DelGiudice gave Blanken Christmas bonuses of $ 7,000 in 2017 and $ 12,000 in 2018, according to the prosecutor.
Meanwhile, Kinney said Blanken worked in the Cook County Courts Compulsory Arbitration Office, calling it “blatant hypocrisy” that “a court system employee was a key player in this illegal gambling business.”
Blanken’s defense attorneys insisted in their own memo that “there is no evidence that threats were made by him to collect gambling losses.” They said Blanken worked at Costco to support his family.