Stephen Mardigan, a Portland citizen, was sentenced to 15 months to prison for amassing $20 million from running an illegal sports betting ring.
Maine Seizes $20m in Assets from Illegal Sports Betting Ring Leader
The U.S. attorney’s office has seized assets worth $20 million in Maine, generated through running various illegal sports betting activities. According to BDN, a media news outlet, the amount is nearly five times bigger than the total collected through civil criminal and asset forfeiture actions in 2018.
The ring leader, Stephen Mardigan, 63, from Portland, pleaded guilty in May, 2018 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison in January 2019. He was also ordered to forfeit 18 Greater Portland properties along with $1.1 million in cash.
Ironically, he pleaded guilty exactly the same time the sports betting ban known as PASPA was lifted, leaving every state to decide how it wants to proceed about regulating sports betting, if at all.
Mardigan was arrested after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) got involved and wiretapped his phones. Investigators caught him on record accepting illegal wagers. Over 17 people have been heard placing bets while the FBI conducted their investigation.
The investigation also established that Mardigan used a car dealership to try and conceal the money. In six years, the company allegedly sold 57 vehicles and amassed $11.3 million. Mardigan’s debtors, also used the dealership to settle any outstanding payments.
More interestingly is the complicit nature of all participants who were not coerced into gambling and respecting a losing wager by paying its value in full.
14 Years of Illegal Sports Betting
Originally, Mardigan faced 28 years in prison, but his cooperation with investigators reduced the overall sentence.
Before he even reached a trial stage, Mardigan offered authorities his full cooperation, agreeing to pay $1.3 million restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Mardigan had been accepting wagers between $20 and $10,000. Mardigan ran the betting ring via phone. The activity spawned more than 14 years, investigators said.
In the two decades of operation, he generated between $9 million and $12 million in net profits. According to investigators, two bettors paid Mardigan around $4.4 million in a seven-year period between 2009 and 2016.
District Attorney Busts NY Gambling Ring, Collects $11m
Meanwhile, six men were busted in New York for running a similar online gambling ring, amassing some $11 million within a year. The culprits were arraigned Wednesday, December 18 on various charges.
Prosecutors explained that the structure accepted illegal bets from both New York City and New Jersey residents. All six culprits have been released on bail and they will have to return on March 9, 2020 to proceed with the trial.
Meanwhile, the illegal sports betting market in the United States remains huge. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), some $7.9 billion were wagered illegally since May 2018 and May 2019.