A federal judge sentenced former Chicago police officer Nicholas Stella to 15 months in prison on Thursday for his involvement in an illegal gambling scheme.
Stella was the third person sentenced in the case, and his punishment is the most severe the far. Eugene Del Giudice and Todd Blanken were the first two people sentenced, and neither received jail time.
Del Giudice got three months of home detention, while Blanken received six months of community confinement.
Casey Urlacher, brother of Brian Urlacher, was also involved in the operation. However, former President Donald Trump fully pardoned Urlacher in his last hours in office. Urlacher has since been re-elected as the mayor of Mettawa, Illinois.
The other defendants, on the other hand, aren’t as fortunate. With that said, Stella’s role in the gambling ring was not his only offense.
Nicholas Stella had other troubling legal issues
In January, prosecutors alleged that Stella “violently assaulted his girlfriend” and committed “repeated domestic batteries.”
US District Judge Virginia Kendall cited that incident on Thursday. Kendall also described his status as a police officer as “so troubling,” per the Chicago Sun-Times.
She added that seeing a police officer act as if he is above the law sullies the reputation of officers who “are trying to do their jobs — and they are trying so hard, with integrity and good character.”
As for the gambling ring, Stella worked as a bookie for the operation known as “Uncle Mick Sports.” Prosecutors said his gamblers generated almost $500,000 in profits in 2018. Uncle Mick Sports was a long-term, multi-million dollar operation.
Stella also destroyed his phone before prosecutors could execute a search warrant. He was the only defendant in the case who did not surrender his phone.
Stella’s defense attorney Michael Clancy said he tried to go back to the dumpster to find the phone before pleading guilty.
Clancy also wrote of his client:
“He [Stella] was a gambling junkie who started working for Vincent [DelGiudice] to support his gambling addiction. Stella gambled away all of the money he made as a bookie. … Stella lost on video gaming and sports gambling. He did not own a house, drive an expensive car, or live lavishly. Rather, he put every cent he made from booking (and then some) right back into the coffers of the operation.”
Vincent Del Giudice, son of Eugene Del Giudice, led the operation from 2016-19. The younger Del Giudice has pleaded guilty, and his sentencing date looms.
Stella shared 50% of his profits with Del Giudice, according to a previous 15-page plea agreement.
What’s next in the Uncle Mick Sports case?
Matthew “Sweaters” Knight will be the next person to be sentenced. Knight recruited new bettors and collected gambling debts for the operation.
Matthew Namoff should follow, and a few defendants don’t yet have sentencing dates. That includes Vincent Del Giudice, who is likely to receive the harshest punishment.
Urlacher, meanwhile, will receive no punishment at all. Instead, he will continue serving as the mayor of Mettawa.