The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that Michael Pepe, 33, of North Haven, pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford to two counts of operating an illegal gambling business.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in May 2012, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Pepe and 19 other individuals, including alleged associates of the Gambino organized crime family, with various federal offenses related to their involvement in an illegal Internet sports bookmaking operation and illegal card gambling clubs in Stamford and Hamden. The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, revealed that Pepe served as the master agent for his Stamford-based co-defendants’ gambling operations in the greater New Haven area. In that capacity, Pepe oversaw bookmaking activities, coordinated the collection of monetary losses from various agents (“bookies”), and provided a portion of those illegal proceeds to a co-defendant. Pepe also was involved in the operation of an illegal 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.
As part of his plea agreement, Pepe has agreed to forfeit $100,000.
Pepe is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford on October 29, 2012, at which time Pepe faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count of conviction.
The 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.