A St. Charles man and his father from South Barrington have been sentenced to federal prison for skimming millions of dollars from the Elgin strip club they own and charges related to a separate illegal Internet gambling business, the FBI announced on its website.
Anthony Buttitta, 43, of St. Charles, and Dominic Buttitta, 69, of South Barrington, who operate Blackjacks Gentlemen’s Club in Elgin, are scheduled to begin serving their prison terms on Jan. 8, according to the FBI. Both men pleaded guilty last February to two felony counts filed against them in U.S. District Court and were sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur.
The younger Buttitta was sentenced to 2½ years in prison; the elder Buttitta was sentenced to 18 months. The two men also were ordered to pay nearly $1.31 million in restitution to the IRS and forfeit an additional $400,000 to the United States.
In its release, the FBI said the Buttittas operate and manage Blackjacks through Elgin Entertainment Enterprises Inc., but that they also ran an Internet gambling business between 2005 and 2009. The latter business included the websites Skybook.com, Largejoe.com, Theredhotel.com, and others based in Costa Rica.
Both Buttittas pleaded guilty to filing false federal corporate tax returns for 2002 through 2009, and false federal individual income tax returns for 2002 through 2008, which under-reported by $4.66 million the total income they received from the operation of Blackjacks and the gambling business. The FBI release states they concealed the diverted funds from their tax preparers and the IRS and used the unreported income to acquire personal property and to pay personal expenses. The diversion resulted in a federal tax loss of more than $1.3 million.
The Buttittas both admitted that they skimmed about $3.7 million in cash from the operation of Blackjacks and later destroyed records of the cash they diverted from the business, the release states. They also placed agents of their Internet gambling business on the payroll of another company to provide the employees with the appearance of a legitimate source of income and benefits. In return, they solicited and received cash kickbacks from the agents and concealed the payments from their tax preparers, bookkeepers, and the IRS.
The FBI stated that the Buttittas admitted they received about $1 million in gross wagers from the gambling business between 2005 and 2009 and made about $400,000 in net profits, which is the amount of the forfeiture judgment.
In addition to the sentence imposed, the release states that the Buttittas remain liable to the IRS for any and all back taxes, as well as a civil fraud penalty of 75 percent of the underpayment plus interest.