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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Key figure in Gambino gambling case pleads guilty

A federal prosecutor called him "the chief operating officer" for a Gambino-connected gambling ring in Fairfield County.

Now, Richard Uva can add another title to his resume -- convicted felon, following a raid in Stamford.

Uva, 44, of Trumbull, pleaded guilty Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Under the terms of a plea-bargain agreement worked out between Lindy Urso, Uva's lawyer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen, Uva faces up to 51 months in prison and a $75,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 24 by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant.

What's more telling is Uva agreed to forfeit $87,268, or half of the $174,537 that law enforcement agents seized from him on April 28, 2011.

He also agreed to forfeit another $162,731 within three years of his sentencing.

Uva was one of 20 people arrested last June following an FBI, IRS and Stamford police investigation into a multi-million Gambino-controlled gambling operation that included high-stakes card games in Stamford and Hamden, an offshore Internet gambling website and street bookies required to pay a percentage of their profits to the mob.

As a result Uva admitted that he committed acts of extortion while participating in the racketeering enterprise.

Chen accused Uva of collecting payments from independent sports bookmakers, which allowed them to continue to operate in Connecticut. A portion of those payments was forwarded to Gambino leaders in New York City, according to the prosecutor.

Federal investigators determined the Connecticut gambling ring took in $1.7 million from October, 2010 to June, 2011.

Chen accused Uva of being the ring's "chief operating officer" and second-in-command to his longtime friend, Dean DePreta, who the prosecutor called "the titular head of the Gambino crime family" in Southern Connecticut.

DePreta, 45, of Bartina Lane, Stamford, also pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to violate the RICO Act.

He is expected to be sentenced Oct. 9. DePreta, who agreed to forfeit at least $212,731, faces up to 87 months in prison.

So far 19 defendants have pleaded guilty to charges and have agreed to forfeit $1.3 million

Both the state police and Bridgeport police participated in the investigation.



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