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Nine members of Gambino crime family indicted

December 18, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ FBI agents moved to shut down the Gambino crime family’s South Florida operation Wednesday, nabbing John Gotti’s apparent successor on a Key Biscayne beach as he climbed out of the surf.

Nicholas ``Little Nick″ Corozzo, 56, was indicted on racketeering charges along with eight other alleged members of the Gambino crime family. The alleged crimes include loansharking, transporting stolen goods and attempted murder.

``I don’t think they were expecting us,″ said William Keefer, U.S. Attorney in South Florida.

It was the first time an active boss of an organized crime family was arrested in Florida, according to FBI agent Paul Mallett.

Corozzo, also known as ``Little Guy,″ was arrested with Ralph Davino Jr., 53, as they emerged from the surf off Key Biscayne on Wednesday.

Corozzo has apparently been running the crime family now that Gotti is serving a life sentence for the 1985 execution of a rival crime boss.

One of Corrozo’s top lieutenants, Leonard DiMaria, was arrested in New York. Both men were acquitted with Gotti on racketeering charges in 1987 in New York.

According to the indictment, the family ran a loansharking operation out of EZ Check Cashing in suburban Deerfield Beach, where loans were extended with credit rates of 2 percent to 5 percent a week _ that’s up to 260 percent a year.

Other crimes associated with EZ Check Cashing, according to the indictment, include:

_ The attempted murder of a federal informant, Louis Maione, suspected of stealing money from the Gambino family.

_ Transportation of stolen designer sunglasses for sale in South Florida,

_ Conspiracy to commit arson on business in retaliation for testimony against a defendant,

_ Threatening to murder a witness and concealing incriminating evidence.

David Furman, 30, was arrested in Deerfield Beach. Anthony Ruggiano Jr., accused of relaying Corozzo’s orders to the family’s South Florida crew, was already in prison in New York on an unrelated charge.

The police were still looking for four others under indictment: Robert Engel, 42, of Woodhaven, N.Y.; Sydney Alwais, 60, of Boca Raton; David Alwais, 30, of Boca Raton and Salvatore Pecchio, 42, of Sunrise.

``This takes care of their South Florida crew,″ said FBI agent Lothar Genge.

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