TWO MEN INVOLVED IN ORGANIZED CRIME-CONTROLLED GAMBLING RING SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that two men involved in organized crime-controlled gambling businesses were sentenced today in Hartford federal court. U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant sentenced RICHARD UVA, 45, of Trumbull, to 46 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. UVA was also ordered to forfeit $250,000. VICTOR AMERENO, 43, of Stamford, was sentenced to six months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to forfeit $15,000.
According to court documents and statements made in court, after a long-term investigation led by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Stamford Police Department, UVA, AMERENO, Dean DePreta and 17 other individuals were charged with various offenses related to their involvement in an illegal Internet sports bookmaking operation and illegal card gambling clubs in Stamford and Hamden. UVA and DePreta are alleged associates of the Gambino organized crime family.
The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, revealed that UVA assisted DePreta’s operation of a large-scale sports bookmaking business in which gamblers placed bets with offshore Internet sports-gambling websites, particularly www.44wager.com based in Costa Rica. UVA served as the “master agent” for the bookmaking operation and supervised a network of bookmakers, including AMERENO.
In addition, DePreta, UVA and others operated a card gambling club at 2965 State Street in Hamden, where a house percentage, commonly referred to as a “rake,” was collected from every hand played. UVA supervised the club’s operation.
UVA has also admitted that he committed acts of extortion while participating in this racketeering enterprise ad collected “tribute” payments from independent sports bookmakers operating in Connecticut. A portion of the payments were delivered to Gambino Family associates in New York.
FBI analysis of the sports-betting web site utilized by the co-defendants has determined that the total gross revenues of the Stamford-based gambling operation were nearly $1.7 million from October 2010 to June 2011.
On April 28, 2011, investigators executed a search warrant at UVA’s former residence in Stamford and seized approximately $175,000 in cash.
UVA has been released on bond since his arrest on June 13, 2012. On August 5, 2013, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
DePreta pleaded guilty to the same charge and, on October 9, 2013, he was sentenced to 71 months of imprisonment, fined $50,000 and was ordered to forfeit $300,000.
AMERENO pleaded guilty on April 1, 2013 to one count of operating an illegal gambling business.
To date, 18 defendants who have pleaded guilty have agreed to forfeit approximately $1.4 million.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Stamford Police Department, the Bridgeport Police Department and the Connecticut State Police. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hal Chen and Peter Jongbloed.
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