An additional defendant has entered a guilty plea in a far-reaching athletic wagering prosecution in Chicago. Ramiro Barajas entered the plea late last week and is scheduled to be sentenced in February.
The 40-year-old Chicago man pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling business during an appearance in Chicago federal court on Thursday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He could be incarcerated for the charge.
The gaming scheme involved the Unclemicksports.com website. Prosecutors claim it was linked to a multi-million-dollar gambling ring that was operated in and around Chicago by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice.
Another defendant, Gregory Paloian, was also linked to the operation, prosecutors add. Barajas was an “agent” for the ring, and “shared winnings and losses with Paloian on a 25 percent basis, and routinely communicated with Paloian to discuss the operation,” the Sun-Times reported.
More Losses Than Wins
“I had more losses than wins,” Barajas claimed during testimony last week before US District Court Judge John Tharp.
Barajas allegedly recruited and oversaw gamblers, the Sun-Times said. He also allegedly provided players log-in information to place bets on the website. Barajas took part in the operation between 2016 and 2019, prosecutors said.
In total, the ring involved over 1,000 gamblers nationwide, prosecutors said. The wagers were on pro and amateur sports events. Wagers were made on baseball, basketball, football, hockey, as well as college sports, the Sun-Times said.
In total, 10 defendants were charged last year following an investigation into the gambling operation. Many of them avoided time in prison after entering guilty pleas.
DelGiudice has yet to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty in the case in February to charges of gambling conspiracy and money laundering.
DelGiudice faces up to five years in prison for conducting an illegal gambling business. He could serve as much as another 20 years in prison after his plea on conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The Sun-Times reported DelGiudice earned $8 million from the gambling ring.
Paloian Suffering from Cancer
Earlier, Paloian was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. But he later was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, WLS, a local TV station, reported.
Paloian was given compassionate relief by a judge, given the medical condition. He will enter prison on August 18, 2022, WLS said.
Defendant Casey Urlacher, mayor of Mettawa, Ill., and brother to former NFL star Brian Urlacher, was pardoned in January by President Donald Trump shortly before he left office.
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