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Maine Auto Dealer Charged with Illegal High-Stakes Gambling

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May 25, 2018—A used-car dealer in Portland, Maine, has pleaded guilty to running a high-stakes gambling operation from his home and business dating back to 2003.

According to a report by the Lewiston (Maine) Sun Journal, Stephen Mardigan, 61, of Portland, entered a plea in federal court on Wednesday.

Federal officials seized nearly $750,000 from Mardigan, the newspaper noted, as well as cash and jewelry from others they allege were involved in the gambling operation, during raids in early April. Mardigan wasn’t charged until Wednesday, though. Court documents state that Mardigan will plead guilty to unlawful gambling, money laundering, and filing a false tax report and could face up to 28 years in prison.

Under a plea agreement, Mardigan will go to jail for a yet-to-be-determined period, forfeit most of the money that was seized, pay restitution of more than $1.3 million and forfeit real estate worth nearly $5.6 milion that he purchased as part of the money-laundering scheme.

According to court filings, Mardigan admitted to running an illegal gambling operation out of his home and his Portland business, Avenue Auto, from 2003-17. He took bets that typically ranged from $30-$10,000 on sporting events, though transactions with two gamblers totaled nearly $5 million. Beginning in early 2017, FBI agents wiretapped a pair of phones on which Mardigan accepted bets, a document noted.

Court filings also noted that Mardigan operated his gambling business primarily from Avenue Auto, a used-car business that, from 2008-16, reported only 57 sales. Despite the modest sales figures, Mardigan deposited more than $11.3 million in the dealership’s accounts.

The government also said Mardigan laundered some of his gambling winnings by buying property.

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