A small-town mayor who is the brother of a Chicago Bears legend. A Chicago cop. A ringleader nicknamed “Uncle Mick”. An underling known as “Sweaters”.
No, this isn’t an overview of the cast of a seedy crime drama. These are some of the major players in a federal indictment filed Wednesday against a Chicago gambling ring that included Casey Urlacher, brother of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
The indictment was handed down via the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. alleges that the following people helped recruit gamblers to place bets on www.unclemicksports.com, a Costa Rica-based website:
- Vincent DelGiudice (“Uncle Mick”)
- Matthew Knight (“Sweaters”)
- At least two unnamed individuals
- Six other named individuals
“The agent defendants and other agents recruited sub-agents and additional gamblers for the illegal gambling business and regularly communicated with the sub-agents and gamblers whom they recruited,” the indictment claims.
Editor’s note: Subsequent descriptions of what occurred are based on the indictment Therefore, the descriptions you read are allegations filed by the United States of America, not statements of fact proven in a court of law.
Uncle Mick’s team tracked, collected debts
Urlacher and his conspirators allegedly did most of the dirty work for DelGiudice. “Uncle Mick” paid a Costa Rican company (“Company A”) $10,000 a month for www.unclemicksports.com.
The defendants used the site to “manage the accounting, betting, record keeping and logistics of the illegal gambling business,” the indictment said.
Bettors could go to the site to see odds and make wagers, not unlike legal U.S. betting sites.
The site would be worthless without gamblers, though, and that’s where Urlacher and others came in. They recruited gamblers to use the site, then get a cut of each gambler’s losses.
According to the indictment, the operation was taking bets from up to 1,000 gamblers at any given time.
DelGiudice would use “coded language and otherwise” to talk with Urlacher and the others regarding miscellany like:
- Paying gamblers
- Collecting money from gamblers
- Getting payment to DelGiudice
The indictment named two defendants, Eugene DelGiudice (“Gino”) and Todd Blanken, as the primary payment processors. They arranged meetings with gamblers to either pay winnings or collect losses.
Bettors paid Uncle Mick’s personal expense
DelGiudice’s operation raked in millions of dollars, the indictment noted. Moving and hiding the money presented an issue.
DelGiudice simplified the monetary process.”Gino” and Blanken brought him the money they collected. If DelGiudice was home, Gino would take the money into the home and give it to the ringleader. If “Uncle Mick” was out, Gino left it at the house unsupervised.
Uncle Mick’s home was quite the repository of riches. In addition to money, the residence housed “gold bars and other proceeds”. Uncle Mick washed some of the money by buying money orders and using it to cover his personal expenses.
But, in other cases, he made gamblers pay those expenses:
“(DelGiudice) directed gamblers and agents who owed him money from gambling losses to pay his personal expenses and the expenses of his family such as his children’s college tuition..”
DelGiudice had other methods of moving money, too:
- Asked gamblers to pay him in cashier’s checks, made payable to DelGiudice’s businesses
- Ask gamblers to buy cashier’s checks made payable to Company A’s businesses
- Used FedEx to send cashier’s checks to Company A
In all, the U.S. District Court brought two counts against the entire group and seven counts against Uncle Mick.
Urlacher still listed as Mettawa mayor
At the time of publishing, the Village of Mettawa’s official website listed Urlacher as its mayor.
Urlacher attempted to follow in his brother’s footsteps before becoming mayor of Mettawa. He played football at Division III Lake Forest College from 2000 to 2003, where he was named the team MVP each of the three seasons he played.
Urlacher made it to Bears minicamp in 2003 but did not make the team.