A Chicago man pleaded guilty in federal court today to participating in an illegal gambling business that involved wagers on professional and collegiate sporting events.
NICHOLAS STELLA, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business. The charge is punishable by up to five years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall set sentencing for June 22, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Tamera Cantu, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terry Kinney, Ankur Srivastava, and Abigail Peluso.
The FBI’s Integrity in Sport and Gaming Initiative (ISG) is designed to tackle illegal sports gambling and combat threats of influence from criminal enterprises.
Stella stated in a plea agreement that from 2016 to 2019 he conspired with bookmaker VINCENT DELGIUDICE, also known as “Uncle Mick,” and others to accept wagers on the outcome of professional and collegiate sporting events. Stella admitted in the plea agreement that he recruited gamblers for Delgiudice’s operation and regularly met with them to pay out winnings or collect on losses. During the conspiracy, Stella communicated with Delgiudice via text messaging and phone calls, the plea agreement states. In a text exchange in December 2018, Stella stated to Delgiudice, “Between my two big losers in Minnesota, they’ve dumped 73k,” according to the plea agreement. In another text exchange cited in the plea agreement, Stella asked DelGiudice shortly before the 2019 Super Bowl to contact the gamblers directly in order to “settle up” after the game.
Delgiudice pleaded guilty earlier this year to a money laundering charge and is awaiting sentencing.