Twenty individuals, including alleged associates of the Gambino crime family of La Cosa Nostra, have been charged with various federal offenses related to their alleged involvement in a large-scale illegal Internet sports bookmaking operation and illegal card gambling clubs in Stamford and Hamden, Connecticut, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
On May 8, 2012, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a 10-count indictment charging the following individuals:
■Dean Depreta, a.k.a. “The Kid,” “The Guy,” and “Little Baldy,” 44, of Stamford
■Richard Uva, a.k.a. “Big Baldy,” 43, of Trumbull
■Thonas Uva, IV, a.k.a. “Little T,” 30, of Stamford
■Douglas Corbin, a.k.a. “Chubby,” and “Fat Doug,” 51, of Stamford
■Joseph Borea, a.k.a. “Pizza Joe,” 55, of New Canaan
■Michael Vitti, a.k.a. “Peewee,” 32, of Stamford
■Silverio Califano, a.k.a. “Sil,” 51, of Stamford
■John Liquori, 42, of North Haven
■Michael Pepe, 32, of North Haven
■Domenico Manchisi, a.k.a. “Dom,” 64, of Shelton
■George Norboe, a.k.a. “Biker George,” 40, of Wallingford
■Craig Caffro, a.k.a. “Spanky,” 47, of Pompano Beach, Florida
■Daniel DeGruttola, a.k.a. “Dannyboy,” 32, of Stamford
■Frank Potolicchio, Jr., 33, of Norwalk
■Victor Amereno, 41 of Stamford
■John Colello, 53, of Stamford
■Mitchell Engelson, 62, of New York, New York
■Anthony Santoro, a.k.a. “Skinny,” 48, of Williamsburg, New York
■Salvatore Ferraioli, 31 of Staten Island, New York
■Angelo Antonlino, 32, of Port Chester, New York
This matter stems from 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. The investigation has included more than seven months of court-authorized wiretaps and the execution of search warrants in three different states. The indictment was unsealed today following the arrests of a majority of the defendants.
“The Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force, comprised of the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Stamford and Bridgeport Police Departments, and the Connecticut State Police, has worked diligently to expose the alleged illegal acts of crime families and their associates and to bring them to justice,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kimberly K. Mertz. “Today’s arrests are a reminder that the FBI and its law enforcement partners are out in the streets investigating organized crime 24/7 and working to eliminate its regional impact.”
“With these indictments, the Organized Crime Task Force has disrupted an alleged criminal organization that commits crimes against our society,” said William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Taking assets away from illegal organizations is one of the government’s most effective tools against money laundering and organized crime.”
“This is another example of a long-term, collaborative effort that led to many arrests of suspects involved in ongoing criminal activities,” said Captain Richard Conklin of the Stamford Police Department. “These investigations with federal authorities have proven very successful and are unhindered by state or city borders.”
The indictment alleges that the Gambino crime family of La Cosa Nostra is headquartered in New York City and has operated in Fairfield County, Connecticut since at least the early 1980s under the direction of different members or associates who reported to members of the crime family in New York. Dean Depreta, Richard Uva, Thomas Uva, IV, Douglas Corbin, and Joseph Borea were Stamford-based associates of the Gambino crime family. Depreta reported to a Gambino “Solider,” a made member of the crime family who oversaw activities in Connecticut.
The indictment alleges that all of the defendants, with the exception of Norboe, were involved in 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. The defendants collected and disbursed funds to and from bettors locally, and transferred a portion of the proceeds to Depreta and Richard Uva. Depreta, Richard Uva, and others then sent payments in the form of Western Union money orders to Caffro in Florida for using www.44wager.com.
The indictment further alleges that Depreta, Richard Uva and others operated three illegal card gambling clubs in Connecticut. Depreta, Richard Uva, Thomas Uva IV, and Corbin conducted card games at 514 Glenbrook Road in Stamford; Depreta, Richard Uva, and Califano conducted card games at 859 East Main Street in Stamford, and Depreta, Richard Uva, Liquori, Pepe, and Norboe conducted card games at 2965 State Street in Hamden. A portion of the profits from these clubs was transferred to Depreta and Richard Uva.
The indictment alleges that, in violation of Connecticut state extortion law, “tribute” payments were collected from individuals who ran their own independent sports-gambling operations in Fairfield County, which permitted these individuals to operate their operations in territory controlled by the Gambino crime family.
The indictment charges Depreta, Richard Uva, Thomas Uva IV, Corbin, and Borea with conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment also charges all 20 defendants with at least one count of operation of an illegal gambling business, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000, on each count. Depreta, Richard Uva, and Thomas Uva, IV are charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000, on each count; and Richard Uva, Thomas Uva, IV, and Caffro are charged with money laundering, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000.
As to Depreta, Richard Uva, Thomas Uva, IV, Corbin, and Borea, the indictment seeks the forfeiture of approximately $1.69 million derived from their alleged racketeering activity, including $174,537 in cash that was seized on April 28, 2011 during a court-authorized search of Richard Uva’s former residence in Stamford.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The 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. The Monroe, New Canaan, Shelton, and Trumbull Police Departments assisted with the arrests of the defendants.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Hal Chen and Peter Jongbloed.