Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Feds seek life sentence for Gambino associate for killing elderly Lucchese loanshark over $750K

Vincent Zito was gunned down in his Brooklyn home in 2018.Vincent Zito was gunned down in his Brooklyn home in 2018.

A Gambino associate who murdered his elderly mobster pal over $750,000 in stolen loansharking proceeds should spend the rest of his life behind bars, federal prosecutors argued Thursday.

Anthony Pandrella, 63, killed Vincent Zito, 78, in Zito’s home in 2018, before the Lucchese loanshark had the chance to whack him first over the missing money. Pandrella was convicted at trial in Brooklyn Federal Court in June.

Prosecutors called the case “worse than even most premeditated murders” in a sentencing memo filed Thursday.

“The murder of the defendant’s frail, elderly friend was callous, cold-blooded and motivated by greed. The defendant knew the victim’s family, which had welcomed him into their home; he knew the anguish this murder would cause — and he did it anyway, for money,” wrote assistant U.S. attorneys. M. Kristin Mace and Matthew R. Galeotti.

The sordid saga began when Pandrella agreed to hold on to $750,000 from Zito’s loanshark business because Zito was worried he was under investigation.

But when Zito asked for his money back, Pandrella said it had mysteriously vanished from his basement.

An angry Zito threatened to kill Pandrella over dinner at Battista, a restaurant in Brooklyn, just weeks before the Oct. 26, 2018 killing, prosecutors said.

The morning of the murder, Pandrella told Zito he was ready to pay up and went to his friend’s Sheepshead Bay home. But instead of bringing the cash, he pumped a bullet in the back of Zito’s head. He then stole the victim’s expensive watches and fled.

That night, Pandrella returned to Zito’s home to sit with his grieving friends and relatives — and to find out what he could about the murder investigation.

Federal prosecutors said Pandrella can’t use a tough upbringing as an excuse for his actions.

“The defendant had an average, middle-class life with no extraordinary hardship. The defendant simply believed he could get away with murder, and he tried to (do) just that,” they wrote.

Pandrella’s lawyer, James Froccaro, asked Judge Margo Brodie to take into account his “myriad serious health issues,” including chronic heart disease, diabetes and a debilitating gangrene condition.

His sentencing is set for Oct. 5.


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