By David Amoruso
Posted on June 7, 2008
Nicholas Corozzo, nicknamed Little Nicky because of his 5 foot 5 stature, is one of the Gambino Family's most powerful members, and definitely one of its biggest earners. According to Bruce Mouw, who headed FBI's Gambino Squad, Corozzo's earning capabilities are what kept him in a good position with flamboyant boss John Gotti. "They had a very adversarial relationship," Mouw said. Gotti heard rumors that the Corozzo crew committed unauthorized murders. When he asked Little Nicky about it, Nicky would always say those were lies, and pledged his loyalty to Gotti.
Corozzo stayed loyal to Gotti. He too must have known Gotti's days were numbered. Gotti had become a famous American, and was proud of it, and had no intention of laying low. Corozzo showed his support and because of this became a key member in the Gambino Family's administration, becoming a capo in 1992. When John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison thanks to a combination of his own words caught on a bug and the testimony of underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, his son Junior was assigned acting boss. At age 28 Junior wasn't the most experienced Gambino member and a panel was assigned to help him run the family. The panel consisted of Junior's uncle Peter Gotti, John D'Amico, and Nicholas Corozzo.
During the mid 1990s the other four New York Families wanted John Gotti to step down because he was unable to run the Gambinos joint operations with other NY families. Influential members were asked who they would like as boss, and one name kept popping up, the name of mob millionaire Nicholas Corozzo. In a conversation that was overheard by an FBI agent (but not recorded) "Corozzo describes how he originally was put up to be the Gambino boss to take over after John Gotti by the family capos. Corozzo indicated at first he did not want the job, but Gene Gotti got in touch with John Gotti, telling him, 'What are you waiting for? He (Corozzo) deserves it, give it to him.' Corozzo relates how he accepted the position only (after) Peter Gotti came with him, supported him. Corozzo says, 'I don't know if I even want it,'"
But before Corozzo could experience the pleasures, and headaches, that come with being a mob boss he was hit with two seperate indictments. One indictment charged him with federal racketeering charges and attempted murder charges in Florida. Corozzo had been running a South Florida loan sharking ring. Corozzo underlings took care of the daily business with Corozzo flying back and forth when needed.
He pled guilty to the Florida charges in the summer of 1997 and received a five to ten year sentence. The second indictment earned him an eight year sentence. A huge win since he was facing life. The sentence would have to be served concurrently with the Florida sentence meaning he would be out in six years.
In prison Corozzo shared a cell with Joseph Vollaro. Vollaro was also a trucking company owner. Vollaro was both doing business with the mob and being extorted. The mob's union contacts got him lucrative business, but he had to pay tens of thousands in tribute and extortion fees. Vollaro wasn't happy with the situation, but what could he do? He had a sudden idea what to do when he was caught during a drug deal with a kilo of cocaine. He decided to become an informant.
Over a period of several years Vollaro recorded conversations with Gambino mobsters and corrupt businessmen. His work eventually resulted in a sweeping February 2008 indictment of 62 Gambino mobsters, including the entire administration, who were hit with charges including murder, extortion, and labor racketeering.
However one man had managed to evade arrest. Nicholas Corozzo had received a phone call from his daughter who tipped him off because her husband had just been taken in by the feds. In a hurry Corozzo fled his home, leaving behind his wallet.
Life on the run is hard. Especially when you are in your late 60s, like Little Nicky was. On May 29, 2008 he turned himself in to the FBI. He pleaded not guilty to murder (the 1996 double murder of Lucchese associate Robert Arena and bystander Thomas Maranga, who was shot while sitting next to Arena), racketeering, extortion and gambling charges. He faces a life sentence if convicted of the crimes.
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