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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gambino gangster from Stamford gets 71 months

Back in January 2002, Dean DePreta was warned by a federal judge that he had a choice -- commit to his biological family and live a law-abiding life or return to organized crime with the Gambino family.

DePreta, 45, of Bartina Lane, Stamford chose the later.

"Clearly that was not sufficient to deter you," U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant told DePreta.

On Wednesday, Bryant sentenced DePreta, who a federal prosecutor claimed is "the titular head" of the Gambino crime family's southwestern Connecticut operation, to 71 months in prison.

But the judge didn't stop there. She fined DePreta $50,000, ordered him to forfeit $300,000 and required him to be supervised by U.S. Probation for three years following his release from prison.

DePreta was among 20 reputed Gambino associates, bookmakers and gamblers rounded up in June 2012. He was the only one who was denied bond and as a result has spent the past 16 months behind bars. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act through extortion and overseeing an illegal gambling operation that included a Costa Rica-based website and high-stakes clubs at 859 East Main Street and 614 Glenbrook Avenue in Stamford as well as at 2965 State Street in Hamden.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen said DePreta had as many as 30 bookmakers who paid a yearly fee to operate, and at least 200 committed gamblers. All this provided a $9 million profit in 4 1/2 years to the crime family, the prosecutor said.

One of the local bookmakers who cooperated with authorities was petrified when called to meet with DePreta at a local diner, Chen said. DePreta described the man as "easy pickings" whose family "got money," Chen said.

The man was forced to meet with DePreta and Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli, a Gambino solider who was cooperating with the FBI after being caught in a drug deal. Stefanelli wore a wire during the meeting, which took place in a Southport diner. The bookmaker was told he had to come up with $5,000, court documents claim.

Still, Ethan Levin-Epstein, DePreta's lawyer, said his client is not "a loan shark or an arsonist ... not the stereotypical leg breaker ... just the manager and operator of an illegal gambling business -- no more, no less."

Bryant conceded that DePreta is a gambler, and said that like a gambler, "sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Well Mr. DePreta you lost." She added that the prison term and fines were the price he had to pay.

DePreta, a muscular 6-footer with a clean-shaven head and face, stared at Chen throughout the prosecutor's argument to the judge, When given the chance to speak, DePreta told Bryant: "I see I made a big mistake. You won't see me in this courtroom again."

But the judge was not convinced.

She called DePreta "a recidivist who voluntarily chose to commit criminal acts for decades -- at the expense of others."

Bryant called him an "individual who simply refuses to adhere to any standards imposed on him by anyone other than his criminal associates."

During a Jan. 30, 2010 meeting at Paramus, N.J., diner, Stefanelli told DePreta he would inform Gambino captain Jimmy Dellarata that he and DePreta would work together as a team, according to court documents. They would kick up a portion of the tax taken from bookies to both Dellarata and Mario Antonicelli, a ranking Gambino soldier. Dellarata was to get $1,000, court records indicate.

Stefanelli claimed "Bridgeport's mine," in the conversation, according to the documents. DePreta and Stefanelli also discussed other Gambino superiors including Louis Ricco, a soldier and Louis Filippelli, a Gambino captain. During the conversation, DePreta said he was committed to the Gambino family.

"I believe in ... the whole thing, the whole thing. I'm looking out for the principles of the family," he was recorded as saying, according to court documents.

Stefanelli could never be a witness at any trial, however. He killed himself on Feb. 26, 2012 after murdering the man he believed set him up in the drug deal.



Post a Comment