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Bail denied for Gambino crime family boss

December 20, 1996

MIAMI (AP) _ Reputed mob boss Nicholas ``Little Nicky″ Corozzo was ordered held without bail Thursday despite complaints from his lawyer that the government was using unproven allegations to keep his client behind bars.

Two other reputed Gambino members, Ralph Davino Jr. and Salvatore Pecchio, also were ordered held without bond until their arraignment on Monday.

Federal authorities claim Corozzo, 56, also known as ``The Little Guy,″ ran a South Florida loansharking operation. He was indicted with eight other members and Gambino associates Wednesday on racketeering charges that include attempted murder, loansharking and arson.

But his attorney _ and nephew _ Joseph Corozzo Jr., denied his client is a involved in organized crime.

``The government creates this aura, or this reputation of `gangster’ simply in order to prevent someone from getting bond,″ Joseph Corozzo said outside federal court.

``Mr. Corozzo never loaned anyone money. The evidence will show that he never gave anyone money, never collected money from anyone.″

Joseph Corozzo complained to Magistrate Stephen Brown that authorities had segregated his uncle from other prisoners at the federal detention center because of his reputation.

``This notoriety was created by federal law enforcement agencies,″ he said. ``It’s basically isolated detention.″

Federal agents claim the Gambinos’ South Florida crew extended loans at rates of up to 260 percent a year from EZ Check Cashing in Deerfield Beach.

Charges associated with the loansharking operation include the attempted murder of Louis Maione, a federal informant suspected of skimming some of the loansharking interest payments from the Gambino family.

Reports surfaced last month that New York’s four other crime families pressured imprisoned Gambino boss John Gotti to cede control of the family to Corozzo. Gotti is serving a life sentence for the 1985 murder of his predecessor Paul Castellano.

And what, according to his lawyer, does Nicholas Corozzo do for a living?

``Mr. Corozzo is gainfully employed,″ his nephew said. ``His son-in-law owns a landscaping business and he assists him.″

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