Florida `racketeers' arrested

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The Independent Online
Fort Lauderdale (AP) - Nine alleged members of the Gambino crime family, including John Gotti's apparent successor, have been indicted on racketeering charges.

Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo, 56, has allegedly been running the crime family now that Gotti is serving a life sentence for the 1985 execution of a rival crime boss.

The indictment against Mr Corozzo and the others alleges crimes including loan sharking, transporting stolen goods and the attempted murder of a federal informant, Louis Maione, suspected of stealing money from the Gambino family.

The FBI arrested Mr Corrozo as he emerged from the surf off Key Biscayne. One of Mr 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.

It was the first time an active boss of an organised crime family was arrested in Florida, the FBI said.

According to the indictment, the family ran a loanshark operation from a company called EZ Check Cashing, where loans were extended with credit rates of 2 to 5 per cent a week - equivalent to 260 per cent a year.