Dean DePreta, called the "the titular head" of the Gambino crime family's southwestern Connecticut

HARTFORD 

 Dean DePreta, called the "the titular head" of the Gambino crime family's southwestern Connecticut operation by federal authorities, was srntenced to 71 months in prison and fined  $50,000, and ordered forfeit $300,000 and required him to be supervised by U.S. Probation for three years following his release from prison.

DePreta was among 20 reputed Gambino associates, bookmakers and gamblers rounded up in June 2012. He was the only one who was denied bond and as a result has spent the past 16 months behind bars. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act through extortion and overseeing an illegal gambling operation that included a Costa Rica-based website and high-stakes clubs at 859 East Main Street and 614 Glenbrook Avenue in Stamford as well as at 2965 State Street in Hamden.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen said DePreta had as many as 30 bookmakers who paid a yearly fee to operate, and at least 200 committed gamblers. All this provided a $9 million profit in 4 1/2 years to the crime family, the prosecutor said.

One of the local bookmakers who cooperated with authorities was petrified when called to meet with DePreta at a local diner, Chen said. DePreta described the man as "easy pickings" whose family "got money," Chen said.

The man was forced to meet with DePreta and Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli, a Gambino solider who was cooperating with the FBI after being caught in a drug deal. Stefanelli wore a wire during the meeting, which took place in a Southport diner. The bookmaker was told he had to come up with $5,000, court documents claim.