Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gambino family leader in southern Connecticut pleads guilty

Millions flowed in from high-stakes card games, a Costa Rican Internet gambling site and local bookmakers through Fairfield County.

If nothing else, it proved to state and federal investigators that illegal gambling is still the mob's biggest moneymaker.

On Wednesday, Dean DePreta, who Assistant U. S. Attorney Hal Chen called "the titular head of the Gambino Crime Family in southern Connecticut," pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. As part of his plea, he admitted that he was involved in extortion and illegal gambling.

As a result, DePreta, 45, of Bartina Lane, Stamford, faces up to 20 years in prison when he sentenced Aug. 28 by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant. He has been detained without bond since his arrest with 19 others on June 13, 2012.

This marks DePreta's second federal conviction since 2002. At that time, he pleaded guilty to federal gambling and extortion charges and was sentenced to 39 months in prison followed by three years of supervision by the U.S. Probation Department.

However, Chen accused DePreta of remaining involved in mob-related activities while under supervision.

In this case, FBI agents wiretapped telephone calls and also conversations made by Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli, a Gambino soldier who spent two years working as an FBI informant.

Stefanelli agreed to cooperate after he and his son were caught in a drug deal. Stefanelli, 69, killed himself on Feb. 26, 2012 shortly after murdering the man he believed set him up. As part of Stefanelli's evidence in the case, the FBI photographed meetings involving him and DePreta, as well as others between DePreta and Mario Antonicelli, another Gambino soldier.

Chen said the gambling ring netted $1.7 million from October 2010 to June 2011.

In a related matter, Bryant sentenced John Liquori, 43, of North Haven, to 18 months in prison and ordered him to forfeit $60,000. Liquori, a Gambino associate, helped manage bookmakers in New Haven.



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