NEW YORK (AP) _ Reputed leaders of the nation's strongest Mafia family have been arrested on charges that include illegal gambling and the murder a mentally ill wiseguy who spilled family secrets.

The 17 arrests resulted from a 3 1/2-year probe into the Genovese crime family, WCBS-TV reported Monday.

All of the suspects were scheduled to be arraigned today in Manhattan federal court, the station reported.

While investigators have dealt crippling blows to the city's four other major crime families, the Genovese remained intact partly by sticking to construction and labor racketeering schemes and avoiding drug dealing, authorities say.

The family took over as the nation's most powerful Mafia clan when Gambino family boss John Gotti was jailed in 1992, authorities say.

Gotti is serving a life sentence for planning the murder of his boss, Paul Castellano, gunned down in 1985 outside a Manhattan steakhouse.

From about 1970 to 1991, police have said, Genovese soldiers took orders from Vincent ``The Chin'' Gigante, who is often seen wandering around Greenwich Village in a bathrobe and slippers, mumbling to himself. Prosecutors say it's just a ``crazy act'' to avoid trial.

Gigante was not arrested but his top bosses were, the Daily News reported. It said indictments would be unsealed today in federal court.

Charges include the slaying of Anthony ``Hickey'' DiLorenzo, a reputed Genovese member who was killed because he became mentally ill and began talking about family business in public, a mob turncoat testified recently.

Among those charged is Liborio ``Barney'' Bellomo, who reputedly took over as acting Genovese boss when Gigante was indicted in 1991 for murder and racketeering, the News said.

That case is pending. Last month, federal Judge Eugene Nickerson ordered psychiatrists who had testified that Gigante was mentally incompetent to face trial to re-evaluate him.