Leader Of Illegal Gambling Ring Pleads Guilty, Associate Is Sentenced
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DEAN DePRETA, 45, of Stamford, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to one count of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) stemming from his involvement in illegal gambling businesses. JOHN LIQUORI, 43, of North Haven, previously pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced today by Judge Bryant to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. LIQUORI also was ordered to forfeit $60,000.
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, DePRETA, LIQUORI and 18 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. DePRETA and LIQUORI are alleged associates of the Gambino organized crime family.
The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, revealed that DePRETA headed a large-scale sports bookmaking operation in which gamblers placed bets with offshore Internet sports-gambling websites, particularly www.44wager.com based in Costa Rica. LIQUORI and Michael Pepe worked with DePRETA to operate the sports book in the greater New Haven area and managed a large number of bookies and gamblers.
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.
In addition, DePRETA, with the assistance of LIQUORI, Pepe 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.
In pleading guilty, DePRETA also admitted that he committed acts of extortion while leading this racketeering enterprise.
DePRETA has been detained since his arrest on June 13, 2013. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 28, 2013, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. He also has agreed to forfeit $300,000.
LIQUORI pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy on March 13, 2013.
On August 6, 2012, Pepe pleaded guilty to two counts of operating an illegal gambling business and, on November 16, 2012, he was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment and was ordered to forfeit $100,000.
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 United States Attorneys Hal Chen and Peter Jongbloed.
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