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Islander indicted on loanshark charges.

May 19, 2000


A Tottenville man was among four reputed members of the Luchese crime family indicted yesterday on federal loansharking charges.

Joseph Fama, 34, of the 300 block of Manhattan Street, allegedly engaged in conspiracies to make and collect extortionate extensions of credit to a number of loanshark victims between the summer of 1996 and July 1999, according to the indictment, which was unsealed yesterday.

Joseph Tangorra, 50, of Brooklyn; Joseph DiBenedetto, 31, of Queens, and Andrew Steckler, 38, whose address was unavailable, are also charged in the indictment.

The men were arraigned on the charges in the federal courthouse in Hauppauge, L.I., yesterday.

In addition to the conspiracy charges, Fama, Tangorra and DiBenedetto are charged with making extortionate loans to victims totaling $35,000 in the summer of 1996. DiBenedetto and Fama are also charged with making a $5,000 loan in a separate charge.

Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Barry W. Mawn, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI of New York, and city police Commissioner Howard Safir announced the indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury in Uniondale, L.I., Wednesday.

The indictment alleges during the commission of the crimes, Tangorra was a "capo" or captain within the Luchese family in charge of a "crew" of other Luchese members and associates that included the defendants.

DiBenedetto is the son-in-law of Luchese boss Vittorio (Vic) Amuso, who is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction in October 1992 on racketeering, extortion, fraud, bribery and murder charges.

If convicted, the men each face maximum sentences of 20 years imprisonment and $250,000 fines on each count.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Stamboulidis and James Miskiewicz. The case was investigated by the FBI-New York City Police Department's Joint Organized Crime Task Force in Queens.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler.

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