Mixed Martial Arts Bookie Sentenced to Two Years as Part of Mob Probe

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

A Chicago area man was sentenced to two years prison on Friday for his role in running an illegal sports gambling ring tied to organized crime.


Michael Frontier, 39, a former mixed-martial arts fighter who currently works for a national cannabis firm, pleaded guilty in January to one count of running an illegal gambling business.  Sherdog lists just one pro fight involving Frontier, a loss to Chris Santacroce in 2007's  USFL - War in the Woods 1.

Frontier had run a sportsbook business between the years 2015 and 2016 using a pay per head service out of Costa Rica.

Frontier paid an underling to use MoneyGram to wire cash to Costa Rica under aliases such as “Ira Goldberg” and “Brian Seagal,” according to his plea deal.

In September 2015, Frontier testified under oath in the bankruptcy case that his occupation was “mainly painting, but also carpentry” and that he made only $7,500 in gross earnings that year, according to the plea agreement.

“I’m a whole different person from that time until now,” said Frontier, dressed in all black and sporting tattoos on top of his shaved head. “I’ve changed my life and I’m just hoping I get a second chance.”

Federal wiretaps captured Frontier meeting with the relative of a mobster as part of a probe into illegal gambling and prostitution tied to organized crime.  The taped conversations revealed Frontier threatening a deadbeat gambler who owed approximately $25,000.

“I swear on my mother, if I don’t get my money, I’ll kick your ass,” Frontier told the deadbeat.

A close relative of Outfit loan shark Joseph “Joe Gags” Gagliano, a twice-convicted mob bookmaker reputed to be a “capo” in the Elmwood Park crew, and gambling chief Marco “The Mover” D’Amico, the onetime second-in-command in Elmwood Park who died in 2020 at age 84, were also captured on wiretaps.

In another recording about the debtor, Frontier told an associate, “He’s getting beat up no matter what now".

Another bettor told investigators that when he did not have the money to pay his gambling debt, “Frontier put him in contact with someone from whom he could borrow money,” according to a court documents.

When that bettor showed up to meet the person, he was “blindsided and beaten” by several men who told him to pay up or else, according to an FBI affidavit quoted in Blakey’s ruling.

Frontier's attorney insisted he had no direct ties with organized crime.

“If you look at the mob figures that they talk about, all the way back to Joey Lombardo and James Marcello and the murder of the Spilotro brothers, there’s pages and pages of their criminal history in there but they don’t give the same treatment to their informants,” Frontier’s attorney, Francis Lipuma, said.  A transcript of his statement was provided in a July 1, 2023 hearing.

Frontier is currrently involved with Verano, a leading cannabis company.  He is also expecting his first child with his girlfriend in June, Lipuma wrote.

“Nowadays, you can find him in one of three places: at work, at the gym, or at home,” Lipuma wrote.

Well, in jail as well....at least for the next two years.  It's unlikely he will serve out that entire sentence.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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