Another Player in Chicago Betting Ring Avoids Prison Time

A judge in Illinois has sentenced a man involved in a Chicago betting ring to six months of community confinement, making him the fourth man in the illegal operation to avoid prison time. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

100 hours of community service

A federal judge has sentenced Matthew Knight – named by a prosecutor as the second-biggest agent in an illegal Chicago betting ring – to six months of community confinement.

the fourth man in the gambling ring to avoid prison time

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall on September 9 also gave Knight two years of probation and a $10,000 fine in addition to 100 hours of community service, making him the fourth man in the gambling ring to avoid prison time. The Chicago Sun-Times cited Judge Kendall as saying she spared Knight jail time in part because of “his lack of criminal history, remorse and cooperation with investigators.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ankur Srivastava named Knight the second-biggest agent in the major international gambling ring run by Vincent DelGiudice. In terms of “overall culpability”, however, Srivastava placed Knight behind DelGiudice and veteran Chicago police officer Nicholas Stella.

Following Thursday’s ruling, Knight becomes the sixth individual to be sentenced since February 2020 out of a string of related gambling cases filed in Chicago’s federal court.

“Lowest day” of Knight’s life

Judge Kendall showed sympathy for Knight’s personal background, saying she found it “rather heartbreaking”. Handing out the sentence, she told the defendant that while “today is pretty much the lowest day of your life […] there have been some low days in the past.”

Prosecutors angled for a one-year prison term for Knight in relation to the “massive scale” of the illegal betting operation. Knight’s defense attorney, Todd Pugh, called for home confinement and probation. Pugh played the sympathy card in describing his client as repeatedly dealing with “personal loss and tragedy.”

I did this to myself and everyone around me.”

Knight, who is a recent widower with three teenage daughters, said his business partners and other members of his community have ostracized him. Nonetheless, he didn’t shirk from taking responsibility for his crime, adding: “I did this to myself and everyone around me.”

“Not a predatory bookie”

Knight’s lawyer’s memo maintained that his client cooperated with law enforcement “to an extent unlike his co-defendants.” Pugh also described Knight as “not a predatory bookie that preyed upon individuals struggling with addiction.”

Srivastava said that Knight’s gamblers raked in $901,504 between January and mid-December 2018. The prosecutor cited an FBI forensic examiner saying it was the norm for a betting operation to accept 20 times as much in bets as it makes in profit.

The upshot, wrote Srivastava, was that Knight’s gamblers could have made $18m in bets.

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