Bookie Butcher sentenced to prison

  • Domenic Poeta, known as the Bookie Butcher has been sentenced to one year in prison for running an illegal sportsbook out of his restaurant.
  • Poeta failed to report over $3.7 million gained from the illegal bookmaking business on his taxes from 2012 to 2017.
  • Poeta has agreed to a court order $1.4 million fine to repay lost tax revenue.

HIGHWOOD, Ill.Domenic Poeta, an Illinois restaurant owner, has been sentenced to one year in prison for running an illegal sports betting operation out of his Poeta’s Italian Food Market.

Poeta has been dubbed the ‘Bookie Butcher’ for running the illegal operation. Poeta has garnered millions from 2012-2017 through the bookmaking business.

Due to failure to report the income from the illegal business on his tax return, Poeta was arrested for tax evasion as well. The restaurant owner has agreed to pay the unreported tax revenue as a part of his sentence.

The Butcher Is Booked

As a shining example as to why sports bettors should only partake in legal sports betting operations, Poeta was denied a sentence of probation and home confinement by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly.

“The length and breadth of the scheme was enormous and quite likely an undercount by a significant amount,” said Kennelly. “It’s breathtaking, quite honestly.”

Poeta’s crimes include tax evasion, embezzling, running an illegal gambling operation, and running an illegal loan shark business.

According to court records, Poeta confessed to collecting over $3.7 million in income from the bookmaking business. This was collected for a five-year span from 2012-2017.

During that time, Poeta only reported $50,000 in taxable income, paying just $7,000 in federal taxes. Poeta agreed to pay the $1.4 million in tax revenue owed as a fine in his guilty plea.

Poeta also confessed to lending money to gamblers who frequented his illegal sportsbook, charging them 20% interest each. Investigators found that Poeta lent roughly $250,000 to two degenerate gamblers.

“[Poeta] continued to operate this illegal business after he came to the attention of the courts, the press, and was forced to disgorge hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wagers,” said Patrick King, Assistant United States Attorney the lead prosecutor on the case. “After learning of the current investigation (after he received a subpoena for records [on May 21, 2018]) he continued to accept wagers but told one bettor that he would no longer accept checks because of the IRS.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Judge Kennelly has postponed Poeta’s date to report to prison until May 29, believing things will be significantly better by then.

There are plenty of legal Illinois sports betting venues and websites that bettors can now use, making operations like Poeta’s obsolete.

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