Richard "Big Baldy" Uva, 45, of Trumbull, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison Thursday for his role in a gambling ring controlled by organized crime.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant sentenced Uva, who will be on supervised release for three years, and he was ordered to forfeit $250,000.
Also, Victor Amereno, 43, of Stamford, was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to forfeit $15,000.
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, Uva and 19 others 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 another man are alleged associates of the Gambino organized crime family.
According to a press release, the investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, revealed that Uva assisted in the 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 and supervised a network of bookmakers, including Amereno.
Also, Uva and others operated a card gambling club at 2965 State St. in Hamden, where a house percentage, commonly referred to as a “rake,” was collected from every hand played, prosecutors said. Uva supervised the club’s operation.
"Uva has also admitted that he committed acts of extortion while participating in this racketeering enterprise and collected 'tribute' payments from independent sports bookmakers operating in Connecticut. A portion of the payments were delivered to Gambino Family associates in New York," prosecutors said.
"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."
On April 28, 2011, investigators executed a search warrant at Uva’s former residence in Stamford and seized approximately $175,000 in cash. On Aug. 5, 2013, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Another man pleaded guilty to the same charge and, on Oct. 9, he was sentenced to 71 months of imprisonment, fined $50,000 and was ordered to forfeit $300,000.
Amereno pleaded guilty on April 1, 2013 to one count of operating an illegal gambling business. To date, 18 defendants who have pleaded guilty have agreed to forfeit approximately $1.4 million, prosecutors said.
This matter was 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 U.S. Attorneys Hal Chen and Peter Jongbloed.