Maine bookmaker Stephen Mardigan’s assets provided a significant boost to federal authorities seizure totals for the 2019 fiscal year, according to recent data from the US Attorney’s Maine District Office.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered Mardigan, 63, to turn over $13 million in real estate around the Portland, Maine area, along with $1.1 million in cash, representing a massive chunk of the assets seized in the Pine Tree State in the latest fiscal year.
In all, the US attorney’s office said it collected more than $19.8 million in forfeited assets last year in Maine,” reports The Bangor Daily News. “The office collected the assets during federal fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30.”
Mardigan’s windfall helped federal authorities more than quadruple the $3.9 million they seized in fiscal 2018. Thanks to the bookie’s assets, DOJ collected more money in Maine fiscal 2019 than they did in the previous five years combined.
Mardigan: Maine’s Main Guy For Action
In May 2018, Mardigan plead guilty to federal counts of illegal gambling, money laundering, and filing a false tax return, earning a 15-month stay at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass. He reported in January 2019 and is expected to be released on Jan. 30, 2020 due to time accrued for good behavior.
Starting in 2003 and for 15 years thereafter, Mardigan operated what is believed to be the largest illicit bookmaking operation in Maine history, accommodating small-time gamblers and big-time players. During court proceedings, the US Attorney’s Office presented evidence that the bookie took bets as small as $20 and up to $10,000, while noting that two of his clients placed a combined $4.4 million in wagers with him over the years.
Investigators estimated that Mardigan made between $9 million and $12 million over an estimated two decades of sports gambling, with his two largest bettors paying him nearly $4.4 million in gambling debts between 2009 and 2016,” according to The Bangor Daily News.
The money laundering charges brought against the bookie accused him of using a car dealership in which he was a part-owner and the aforementioned real estate holdings to clean ill-gotten proceeds.
Inching Closer to Legalization
The northeastern-most state in the US isn’t currently among the 19 that have signed-off on sports wagering, but there’s active legislation there that could alter that status.
Earlier this year, lawmakers there passed a bill that would approve sports betting, but Gov. Janet Mills didn’t sign it.
“I will continue to review these bills and gather more information, and I look forward to acting on them at the beginning of the next legislative session,” said Mills of the sports betting legislation and dozens of other bills she didn’t sign this year.
By some estimates, sports betting could direct $3.7 million to $6.4 million annually to Maine coffers. Of the six New England states, only Rhode Island has sports wagering up and running, but Maine neighbor New Hampshire is close to joining the fray.