Twenty people have been charged in illegal gambling rings in southwestern Connecticut that have ties to organized crime, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The defendants include alleged associates of the New York-based Gambino family that a federal indictment says oversaw gambling operations in Fairfield County. The indictment says operators of sports-gambling activities in territory controlled by the Gambino family made "tribute" payments to the family to operate there.
A federal grand jury in New Haven returned the indictment May 8. It was unsealed Wednesday after most of the defendants were arrested. Nearly all of them are also accused of participating in a bookmaking operation in which gamblers placed bets with offshore Internet sports-gambling websites, including one based in Costa Rica.
The participants collected and distributed money among bettors locally and sent proceeds to others in the ring, prosecutors said.
Federal authorities are seeking forfeiture of about $1.7 million in illegal proceeds, including $174,537 in cash seized in an April 2011 search of the former Stamford residence of Richard "Big Baldy" Uva. Uva was among those indicted, along with Dean "Little Baldy" Depreta, 44, of Stamford. Depreta is accused of operating illegal card gambling clubs with others in Stamford and Hamden and reporting to the Gambino family.
It could not immediately be determined if Depreta or Uva had attorneys.
Authorities said the investigation involved court-authorized wiretaps over seven months and the execution of search warrants in three states. Several police departments were involved along with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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