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Crime & Courts

McHenry County men charged in sports gambling conspiracy with Casey Urlacher

Men from Algonquin and Cary were charged with conspiring to illegally conduct a multimillion-dollar sports gambling business in the Chicago area, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Todd Blanken of Cary assisted in the collection and paying out of money in cash to gamblers recruited by Justin Hines of Algonquin and others.

One of these men was Casey Urlacher, the brother of Hall of Fame Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. Casey Urlacher, the mayor of Mettawa, made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for state Senate. He was defeated in 2016 by Sen. Dan McConchie.

Blanken, 43, and Hines, 40, were among 10 men charged with participating in the gambling conspiracy. Each charge is punishable by up to five years. 

Reached by phone Friday, Blanken declined to comment on the charges. Hines did not return a message.

According to the grand jury charges, both men worked under Vincent Delgiudice, also known as “Uncle Mick,” who directed an operation accepting wagers from as many as 1,000 gamblers on the outcome of professional and amateur sporting events.

Delgiudice recruited gamblers to place wagers using an internet-based gambling platform in Costa Rica that was called “Company A” in court documents.

Agents who worked with Delgiudice on behalf of his gambling operation enlisted new gamblers and worked with him to collect or pay out cash. Prosecutors allege that Delgiudice paid a commission to the agents based on a percentage of losses incurred by the gamblers they recruited.

A law enforcement search of Delgiudice’s Orland Park residence resulted in the seizure of more than $1.06 million in cash, silver bars and jewelry valued at $347,895 and gold coins valued at $92,623.

Delgiudice, 54, is charged with conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business, conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. 

According to court documents, Hines spoke with Delgiudice by phone Dec. 14, 2018, and said he had 10 “guys” who lost $15,000 a year. On Dec. 27, Hines texted a gambler saying he was “down 1,450.”

A month later, Delgiudice prepared a note Jan. 28, 2019, listing the amount of money due from Hines’ gamblers for the previous week’s betting and texted it to him.

Blanken spoke to Delgiudice on the phone Dec. 11, 2018, and they discussed money owed by gamblers, as well as meeting gamblers to collect money for gambling losses, according to court documents.

On Jan. 6, Delgiudice told Blanken he had 1,006 “customers” and had won $100,000 or about $100 a player. Five days later, Blanken sent text messages to a gambler and set up a meeting to collect a $1,500 payment on the debt a gambler owed.

According to their Facebook pages, Blanken and Hines both attended Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

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