A Portland man who helped run what authorities are calling Maine’s largest illegal gambling operation will not go to prison.

William Flynn, 77, pleaded guilty in June in U.S. District Court in Portland. The crime – one federal charge of unlawful gambling – could have resulted in a prison sentence of up to five years. He was sentenced Monday to two years of probation, including 90 days of home confinement. He had already agreed to forfeit nearly $75,000.

Flynn, who struggled to stand in the courtroom and used a walker to exit, gave a brief statement to the court. He apologized to his family, saying he will spend the rest of his life trying to gain back their respect.

“It will forever be an asterisk beside the name William Flynn as convicted criminal, a distinction I never strived for,” Flynn said.

U.S. District Judge Jon D. Levy described unlawful gambling as “the type of crime that tears at the fabric of a community,” saying he believed it warrants a prison sentence. But the judge also said he did not impose one because of Flynn’s age and health problems, as well as his role as the only caretaker for his longtime partner.

“That should not in any way detract or minimize my assessment of how wrong what you did was,” Levy said. “This was not something you did simply a few times, but this was a way of life. You have much to atone for, as I know you recognize.”

Federal prosecutors said Flynn was a player in Stephen Mardigan’s high-stakes gambling business in Portland between 2010 and 2017.

Mardigan, who pleaded guilty this spring to running an illegal gambling operation and money laundering, received bets on professional and college sporting events for 14 years. He will be sentenced in December. He is 62 years old, according to court documents. He could face 28 years in prison and will have to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash seized by federal agents last year, give up real estate worth at least $5.6 million and pay restitution of $1.3 million under the outline of a plea deal. According to court records, Flynn coordinated bets with Mardigan, shared profits and losses with him, and communicated regularly with him about sports lines, bets taken and other aspects of the business. Mardigan also served as the “bank” for Flynn’s bets.

In April 2017, the FBI seized nearly $850,000 in cash and watches from Mardigan, Flynn and two other Portland residents. Documents filed in connection with the seizure suggested an investigation into illegal gambling.

More than one year later, in May, Mardigan entered his guilty plea for operating the gambling business from his home on Baxter Boulevard and his used-car business on Forest Avenue. Court documents show he took bets on college and pro basketball games, college and pro football, baseball, professional hockey, stock car racing and golf tournaments. The documents say bets typically ranged from $30 to $10,000, but transactions with two gamblers totaled nearly $5 million. The FBI built its case against Mardigan by wiretapping two different phones and using informants, including one who lost about $2 million in bets.

Flynn is the only other person to face criminal charges in the case so far. He entered his guilty plea just weeks after Mardigan and cooperated with the investigation.

Levy spoke sternly about illegal gambling during the hearing.

“This is not a victimless offense,” Levy said. “Many of the people who engage in illegal gambling cannot afford to do so and, in fact, do so because they have addiction or other issues.”

Flynn had repeatedly expressed remorse during the investigation, and did so again at the hearing Monday.

“Having pled guilty to a federal felony charge, Bill is in the waning years of his life, looking back with regret at his conduct,” his defense attorney David Beneman wrote in a sentencing memorandum. ” ‘I wish I never got involved in this,’ he told probation.”

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.