The U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine sentenced a 62-year-old man to prison for running a multimillion-dollar gambling operation.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Stephen Mardigan had run the operation from 2003 until April 2017, when federal investigators confiscated $850,000 in cash and jewelry from him and three others.
Last May, he plead guilty to the charges of running the gambling business, money laundering, and misdeclaring information in his used car company’s income tax return.
Mardigan had supposedly faced 20 years in prison for the money laundering charge alone, but Chief Judge Jon Levy said that federal guidelines and mitigating factors reduced this considerably. The federal prosecutor wanted Mardigan to serve 21 months, while the defense requested merely probation.
Levy, in giving Mardigan a 15-month sentence, said the crimes he had committed were too serious to not involve imprisonment.
William Flynn, who had also participated in the operation, had been sentenced last October to two years’ probation.
The judge was quoted as saying, “Whether lawful gambling is a good or bad thing is not a policy question for a judge to decide. That’s for others to decide, but unlawful gambling is another matter entirely. It’s done in secret. It begets money laundering, as was the case here. It begets tax evasion, as was the case here. And it can ruin lives, as it has clearly done to Mr. Flynn and Mr. Mardigan.”
Authorities claim the illegal operation to be the largest ever in the state. Currently, legal gambling in Maine is limited to daily fantasy sports, two racetracks, two casinos, the state lottery, charitable gaming, and some gaming operations run by four Native American tribes.
In a letter to Levy, Mardigan described starting out in his 30s, placing a $500 bet on a football game, which led to an addiction. He would later take bets on college and professional sports games. One of the gamblers he had taken bets from lost a total of $2 million over six years, while another was found to deposit $1.4 million to Mardigan’s business bank account over the same time period.
Mardigan had used his gambling profits for the purchase of at least 19 properties, priced at about $13 million in total.