Attorney General Maura Healey said that a Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison for operating a “large-scale” illicit sports betting organization.

59-year-old Lonnie Hillson pled guilty to charges of Organizing and Promoting Gambling, Registration of Bets, Use of the Telephone for Gambling, Conspiracy to Register Bets, and Attempted Extortion in Middlesex Superior Court (1 count each).

In response to Hillson’s guilty plea, Judge Patrick Haggan sentenced him to one year in the House of Correction and three years of probation to run concurrently.

AG Healey said, “This defendant operated an unlawful and predatory criminal operation that forced gamblers into debt and attempted to extort money from an undercover investigator.” “We are appreciative to our law enforcement partners for their help in bringing this criminal to justice and ending this enterprise.”

Hillson was indicted in December 2018 after an investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Special Service Section and the Attorney General’s Gaming Enforcement Division into organized crime including unlawful gambling and money laundering. In addition to Hillson’s parents, authorities charged ten other persons in connection with the scheme.

The Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Colonel Christopher Mason, said, “The subject of this inquiry operated a business that broke multiple laws and benefited by dragging gamblers further into debt, so intensifying their harmful conduct.” “I appreciate Attorney General Healey’s oversight of this effort and commend the work of several of our units that have historically interdicted predatory gambling enterprises, including our statewide Special Services Section, the Gaming Enforcement Unit within the Attorney General’s State Police Detective Unit, and our Technical Services Unit.”

The Hillsons ran their illicit gambling enterprise from their residences in Melrose. Others aided them in trying to extort money from an undercover Massachusetts State Police trooper who had infiltrated the illicit gambling group.

The indictments followed the execution of search warrants at more than eight residences, two businesses, five vehicles, and nearly a dozen bank accounts, where investigators recovered betting slips, gaming ledgers, illegal gambling-related paperwork, parlay cards, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash.


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