A Trumbull resident, who officials allege is an associate of the Gambino crime family, faces twenty years in prison for his role in an illegal gambling enterprise.
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Richard Uva, also known as “Big Baldy,” 44, of Trumbull pleaded guilty Monday before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford to one count of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, stemming from his involvement in organized-crime controlled gambling businesses.
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 and the Stamford Police Department, Uva, Dean DePreta 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. 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, according to the states attorney.
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, the states attorney said.
In pleading guilty, Uva also admitted that he committed acts of extortion while participating in this racketeering enterprise. He collected “tribute” payments from independent sports bookmakers operating in Connecticut, which payments were subsequently delivered to Gambino Family associates in New York.
Uva is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on October 24, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. He also has agreed to forfeit $250,000.
Uva has been released on bond since his arrest on June 13.
DePreta has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
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.
To date, the defendants who have pleaded guilty have agreed to forfeit more than $1.3 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 United States Attorneys Hal Chen and Peter Jongbloed.