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Gambino crime family associate convicted of whacking Brooklyn loan shark

gambino crime family associate convicted of killing brooklyn loan shark
Anthony Pandrella, left, was convicted June 14 for the 2018 murder of his friend Vincent Zito, a noted loan shark.
US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

An alleged associate of the Gambino crime family has been convicted by a federal jury for the 2018 murder of a longtime friend, one of southern Brooklyn’s most infamous loan sharks.

Anthony Pandrella, 62, was convicted on counts of murder, robbery, and firearm charges in Brooklyn federal court on June 14. He had been accused of the cold-blooded 2018 homicide of Vincent Zito, 77, a loan shark from Sheepshead Bay for whom he was holding $750,000 in ill-gotten gains to shield the old man’s activities from the watchful eye of the feds, a task he only entrusted to close confidantes. But when Zito asked for the ‘scarole back, Pandrella said it had vanished without a trace and not to worry about it, according to federal officials. 

Enraged, Zito allegedly began putting out feelers with other associates about possibly whacking Pandrella, and as the situation grew more tense, the younger man started trying to square up the situation in whatever way he could.

On Oct. 26, 2018, Pandrella visited Zito’s Emmons Avenue abode, with the old man believing his one-time amigo was coming to pay back part of his outstanding debt, prosecutors said. Instead, Pandrella grabbed Zito and fatally shot him twice in the back of the head; afterwards, he set the handgun down between the dead man’s legs, stole a couple of expensive watches Zito was holding for a client, and slunk his way out the door. Zito’s corpse was eventually discovered by his 11-year-old grandson Vincenzo.

Unbeknownst to the killer, Pandrella’s entrance and exit into Zito’s home were captured on CCTV footage, at the same time as the murder. He was also captured on surveillance footage in his own neighborhood after leaving the scene of the crime, showing him change his clothes and shoes, and remove the floor-mat from his car to wash it. DNA on the murder weapon, a revolver, also matched Pandrella. He was arrested by the NYPD and FBI in March 2019.

a gun, evidence of gambino crime family associate's murder of bk loan shark
Anthony Pandrella’s DNA was found on the grip and trigger of this revolver recovered from the murder scene. US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

With overwhelming evidence against him, Pandrella was convicted of all three charges he faced following just 90 minutes of jury deliberation.

“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 US Attorney Breon Peace of the Eastern District in a statement. “In addition to the brutal betrayal, the defendant also robbed luxury watches from the victim’s loan business.  I commend the FBI special agents and the NYPD detectives who solved the case and brought Pandrella to justice.”

Pandrella is set to be sentenced on Sept. 16, where he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and the possibility of life behind bars.

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