Another sentence has been handed out in the Uncle Mick Sports illegal gambling ring case, and Matthew “Sweaters” Knight will avoid prison time.
Knight will instead get two years of probation, six months of community confinement and will have to pay a $10,000 fine for his role in the scheme.
Despite Assistant U.S. Attorney Ankur Srivastava saying Knight was third in “overall culpability” in the ring behind Vincent DelGiudice and Nicholas Stella. Knight was the second-biggest agent in the ring.
Feds recently gave Stella a 15-month prison sentence, while DelGiudice has yet to be sentenced. Knight’s gamblers generated almost $1 million in profits throughout most of 2018, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
However, defense attorney Todd Pugh was able to help his client avoid jail time. Pugh described Knight, a widower with three kids, as someone who has suffered plenty of “personal loss and tragedy” in his life.
Pugh also wrote in a memo that Knight “was not a predatory bookie that preyed upon individuals struggling with addiction.” He added that the only punishment for not being able to pay debts was not being able to continue to place bets.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ultimately agreed that Knight did not deserve prison time. Citing a lack of criminal history, cooperation with investigators and remorse, Kendall said she found a report on Knight’s personal background to be “rather heartbreaking.”
She also said to Knight:
“Today is pretty much the lowest day of your life, [but] there have been some low days in the past.”
Knight also told the judge that his business partners have cut ties with him.
Latest on the Uncle Mick Sports case
Knight is the sixth person to be sentenced by the feds. Two — Stella and Gregory Paloian — have received prison time. Everyone else has avoided it.
Eventually, DelGiudice will receive his sentence. Seeing as how he was in charge of the operation, he will likely receive a hefty punishment.
Though, in general, most people involved in the Uncle Mick Sports case aren’t receiving substantial punishments. Most are getting some combination of probation, community confinement, a fine and service hours.
That includes a few brothers of high(ish) profile figures from Chicago. John Amabile, brother of “Bachelor in Paradise’s” “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile, recently got a similar punishment to Knight.
Meanwhile, Casey Urlacher (brother of Brian Urlacher) was fully pardoned by former President Donald Trump among his final acts in office. He is now the mayor of Mettawa, Illinois.
Attorneys used sports betting legalization as a defense
As sports betting becomes legal in more and more states, defense attorneys are using it as a reason why punishments for illegal gambling shouldn’t be as severe.
Pugh specifically pointed out that there will soon be sports betting at Wrigley Field.
He also wrote:
“None of these observations excuse or justify Mr. Knight’s criminal conduct, but they do illustrate that sports betting is incredibly popular, widely accepted, and enjoyed by a significant portion of society.”
Knight may not have resorted to violence to collect debts from gamblers, but that happens in the illegal market. In the offshore market, there are no resources to help problem gamblers, among many other issues.