July 16, 2019
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Tenants should continue to pay rent to admitted gambling ring leader, feds say

Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Customers come and go from The 5 Spot, a sandwich shop at 935 Congress St. The owners of the shop are worried about what might happen to them after the federal government seized ownership of the building from their landlord as part of an illegal gambling bust.

Tenants who lease properties used to launder millions of dollars in profits from an illegal gambling ring are to continue paying rent to the gambling group’s admitted leader, a federal official says.

People who rent properties among the 18 that Stephen Mardigan agreed to turn over the United States government as part of his plea deal have been worried about what will become of their buildings, with some uncertain of where to send rent checks.

They are angry about being unwittingly caught up in their landlord’s criminal enterprise, which came to an end in what is believed to be among the largest gambling busts in Maine history.

[Tenants uncertain after landlord busted in multimillion-dollar gambling ring]

Last week, Mardigan, 61, pleaded guilty to three charges related to running a sports betting syndicate for more than decade, but he will maintain control over all his properties until he’s sentenced.

That’s likely months off. Until then, “tenants should continue to make rent payments as they did” before he pleaded guilty, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service said.

[Maine man pleads guilty in illegal gambling case, to turn over mansion, other properties to feds]

When the U.S. government seizes property in a criminal case, it generally takes on the same rights and duties as the previous owner and is usually bound by existing third-party agreements, such as a lease.

Real estate forfeited in this fashion is often put up for sale by the Marshals Service, but that can’t happen until the the forfeiture agreement is finalized.

“We understand that Mr. Mardigan will continue to manage those properties until a final order of forfeiture is entered by the District Court at sentencing,” Lynzey Donahue of the Marshals Service said.

[FBI seizes nearly $849,000 in series of Portland raids allegedly tied to illegal gambling]

Follow Jake Bleiberg at: @JZBleiberg.

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