Todd Blanken, alleged mastermind of “multi-million dollar” Chicago-based gambling ring, has avoided prison time as a district sentenced the 44-year-old to just six months in a community center.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall also allowed Blanken, a resident of Cary, Illinois, to work while staying in the community center. The judge also ordered him to remain on two years of probation.
Prior to the pronouncement of the sentence, Blanken apologized before the judge. During an earlier hearing in February, he had pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy in Chicago. The judge “admired” him for making some tough decisions and relocating to Arizona.
According to prosecutors, Blanken was a “trusted runner” for the Chicago-based illegal gambling ring as well as recruited gamblers. His day job was working in the Cook County courts’ arbitration office.
The gambling ring was based in Chicago but it involved more than 1,000 gamblers nationwide. A Costa Rican-based sportsbook was also playing a role in the illegal operation, which was allowing betting enthusiasts to place bets on pro and amateur sporting events.
Blanken was one of ten suspects who were arrested and slapped with gambling-related charges for allegedly assisting the ring. Many high profile figures were also charged in connection with the illegal gambling operation. Casey Urlacher, mayor of Mettawa, Ill, was also arrested as part of the investigation.
However, President Trump pardoned Casey Urlacher, for his alleged role in the illegal operation. It may be noted here that Casey is the brother of former Chicago Bears star Brian Urlacher.
Previously, a federal judge sentenced defendant Eugene DelGiudice to three months of home detention. The 85-year-old is reported to be ill. According to prosecutors, the mastermind of the illegal gambling operation was Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice, the son of Eugene DelGiudice. In the month of February, he pleaded guilty to gambling conspiracy as well as money laundering charges. The case is still open, and he faces several years in federal prison.
During a raid at DelGiudice’s house in Orland Park, authorities had seized more than $1.06 million in cash, a number of silver bars, golden coins and jewelry valued at more than $357,895. The mastermind allegedly paid the Costa Rica-based sportsbook $10,000 per week to use an online platform and entice gamblers.
As the illegal gambling operation was active across several state of the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Integrity in Sport & Gaming Initiative actively participated in the probe. The crackdown was part of the federal authorities’ efforts to address illegal sports gambling, which is often linked to criminal enterprises.