Dean DePreta pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the RICO act and as part of his plea deal admitted to his involvement in an illegal gambling and extortion ring in Connecticut. DePreta was called the titular head of the Gambino crime family in southern Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen. He controlled an illegal Costa Rican internet sports gambling site along with multiple illegal high stakes poker games on behalf of the Gambino family. He was arrested along with 19 others in June of last year and has been held without bond since then. DePreta also has a previous conviction from 2002 where he pleaded guilty to federal gambling and extortion charges and got 39 months in prison. This time around DePreta is facing up to 20 years in prison and is set to be sentenced on August 28.
Taped conversations and telephone calls made by Gambino soldier turned informant Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli played a major roll in the case according to the FBI. Stefanelli spent two years wearing a wire for the feds after him and his son were caught on drug charges. The FBI was able to also photograph meetings between DePreta and Stefanelli along with other meetings between DePreta and Mario Antonicelli another Gambino family soldier. Stefanelli went on to kill himself on February 26 of last year after murdering the man he believed had set him and his son up. According to authorities the illegal gambling and extortion operation netted $1.7 million dollars from 2010 to 2011. Both state and federal authorities said if nothing else this case shows that illegal gambling is still a major money maker for the Mafia.