Gambino Mobster Killed Friend Over $750K, Jury Finds

NEW YORK CITY — A federal jury took all of 90 minutes to find a mobster guilty of killing a Brooklyn loan shark over $750,000, authorities said.

Anthony Pandrella, 62, who is a Gambino crime family associate, will spend at least 10 years in prison after Tuesday’s verdict, prosecutors said.

Pandrella stood trial in a Brooklyn federal courtroom for more than a week on accusations he murdered Sheepshead Bay loan shark and friend Vincent Zito, 77, who had given him cash for safekeeping.

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“Today’s verdict has found that the defendant is a cold-blooded killer who shot his elderly friend in his home, execution-style with a bullet in the back of the head, to avoid returning a large sum of money he was holding for the victim,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace in a statement.

Zito was found dead inside his Sheepshead Bay home Oct. 26, 2018, by his 11-year-old grandson, authorities said.

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His death prompted an investigation by NYPD and FBI agents that centered around Pandrella.

Pandrella was Zito’s friend for more than 30 years, authorities said. When Zito found out he was under investigation for an illegal loansharking business, he turned to Pandrella for help, giving him $750,000 from his enterprise for safekeeping, prosecutors said.

But Pandrella never returned the money, even after Zito tried to collect it, authorities said.

Instead, Pandrella visited his friend’s home and shot him in the back of the head, prosecutors said.

“In addition to the brutal betrayal, the defendant also robbed luxury watches from the victim’s loan business,” Peace said in a statement.

Surveillance cameras showed Pandrella enter and leave Zito’s home, where the murder weapon — a firearm — was found with Pandrella’s DNA on the trigger and grip, prosecutors said.

Jurors found Pandrella guilty on all three counts he faced: murder, Hobbs Act robbery and unlawful use of a firearm.

His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16 — and he faces up to life in prison.

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