04/23/2006 11:00PM

Two more pleas in N.Y. case


Two of the people whom federal prosecutors claimed were ringleaders of an illegal gambling scheme that wagered $200 million on horse races and other sporting events over a four-year period have entered guilty pleas, according to court records.

Gerald Uvari, a 68-year-old resident of Coconut Beach, Fla., and David Appelbaum, a 57-year-old resident of Ardsley, N.Y., face a maximum penalty of five years in prison under one felony count of running an illegal gambling business, according to the records. The pair had initially pleaded not guilty but entered guilty pleas last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

Attorneys for Uvari and Appelbaum did not return phone calls late Monday. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which brought the charges against Uvari and Appelbaum in an indictment released last year, said that the attorney's office would have no comment on the pleas because the case is still in criminal proceedings.

A total of 17 people were indicted in January 2005 by the U.S. Attorney's office for the scheme. The indictment also included a charge that several of the individuals gambled on a horse at Aqueduct in late 2003 that was administered an illegal concoction of baking soda and electrolytes.

Nine of the 17 people indicted have pleaded guilty. One of the 17 indicted, Marvin Meyerowitz, died last May in a fire at his apartment in New Jersey.

Uvari was described in the indictment as an associate of the Gambino organized crime family. He was initially indicted on 85 different counts that included money laundering and wire fraud. His brother, Cesare Uvari, and his son, Anthony Uvari, entered guilty pleas in early April on identical counts of running an illegal gambling business and are scheduled to be sentenced on July 6.

Appelbaum was indicted on 42 counts, including a charge that he conspired to rig a horse race at Aqueduct in 2005. On that count, trainer Greg Martin has already entered a guilty plea and faces a maximum of five years in prison.