Informant on illegal betting ring sentenced

July 30, 1999|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

A veteran Baltimore firefighter who helped run an illegal sports betting ring before becoming an undercover government informant was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Baltimore to 6 months on home detention and 5 years' probation.

Daniel O'Malley, 48, of Morn Mist Court in Perry Hall was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine by U.S. District Chief Judge J. Frederick Motz.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Griffin told the court that O'Malley had provided the government with "extensive" information about the ring.

Griffin said O'Malley's willingness to testify had resulted in several guilty pleas in the case -- which began four years ago with a tip from an FBI informant that an unknown city police officer had provided warning of a raid to a big-time bookmaker and has included hints but no hard evidence of police corruption.

Last month, the bookmaker who allegedly received the tip, Augustine C. Tamburello, was sentenced by Motz to 12 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. The head of another gambling operation, Vernon Letts, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and a $30,000 fine. Four underlings of the two groups received lesser sentences.

Unlike last month's sentencings, when a prosecutor referred to the government's "continuing investigation," Griffin made no mention during yesterday's 10-minute hearing of charges of police wrongdoing.

She declined to comment after the hearing.

According to court papers, O'Malley was a manager in a $300,000-a-year illegal sports betting ring run by Letts, the owner of a Belair Road tavern that bears his name.

Letts also ran an illegal lottery ring and would "lay off" bets he couldn't cover to the larger Tamburello operation, court papers said.

John Thompson, his attorney, said O'Malley had "cooperated fully with the government."

Michael Scudder, a clerk in Letts' illegal lottery operation who also became a government informant, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 6.

Pub Date: 7/30/99

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