John Amabile, a former Melrose Park police officer, has been charged with one count of unlawful sports gambling.
Amabile was a part of ringleader Gregory Paloian’s operation. Paloian recently pleaded guilty and received 2.5 years in prison.
Prosecutors are seeking at least $100,000 from the 33-year-old Amabile in the case.
Amabile served as a Melrose Park police officer from 2015 until earlier this year, when he resigned.
Amabile filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2018 before his alleged involvement in the scheme. He cited tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.
Earlier this year, Paloian admitted to using “a number of agents” in his operation. Amabile was allegedly one of those agents.
Paloian has long-standing ties to the Chicago Outfit, a local mob. He was also sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in 2002 for running a mob-connected bookmaking operation.
As for the most recent scheme, Paloian admitted to not paying about $200,000 in federal and state taxes throughout.
Amabile is the younger brother of Joe Amabile, also known as “Grocery Store Joe.” The elder Amabile rose to fame during his time on ABC’s The Bachelorette.
Former Chicago cop charged in similar case last week
Nicholas Stella pleaded guilty last week to conspiring to conduct an illegal gambling business.
Stella was involved in “Uncle Mick Sports” with Casey Urlacher, brother of former Chicago Bears legendary linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Amabile, Stella and the younger Urlacher all allegedly held similar roles in their respective operations.
Stella was the fifth defendant in that case to plead guilty.
Of course, former President Donald Trump fully pardoned Urlacher in one of his final acts in office.
Urlacher proceeded to run for reelection as the Mettawa mayor as a write-in candidate, and won.
Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice led that operation. DelGiudice pleaded guilty back in February.
Why easily accessible regulated gambling is better
As we can see with this wave of illegal gambling cases in Illinois, there’s been a lot of shady behavior going on over the years.
One of the reasons that’s bad? It could drive people toward unregulated betting options, such as offshore sportsbooks or bookies.
We’re certainly not advocating for that, but it could become more prominent in a world where signing up for a legal sportsbook is inconvenient.
If you’ll notice, these schemes began while sports betting was still illegal in Illinois.