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Monday
Dec162013

Merry Mafia Christmas: Italian Mobsters Arrested in Poinsettia Scam

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Talk about flamboyant Christmas fundraising. In southern Italy, four suspected mobsters were arrested for coercing shopkeepers into purchasing poinsettia Christmas plants for up to $130 each as a way to raise money for their fellow jailed mafia members.
 
Police say the poinsettia protection racket has been going on for a couple of years now in the city of Naples, a creatively corrupt way for the feared Mazzarella clan to squeeze out more dough from struggling shops hit by Italy’s devastating recession. Poinsettias usually sell for about $5.00 in Italy.
 
Shopkeepers who chose not to accept the “Christmas offering” of the red-leafed plant promptly had their stores vandalized.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio