Anthony Pandrella murdered friend Vincent Zito in Sheepshead Bay home
Anthony Pandrella, 62, of Brooklyn, an associate of the Gambino organized crime family, was convicted on Tuesday, June 14, of Hobs Act robbery and murder of his longtime friend and loan shark Vincent Zito, 77, along with unlawful use of a firearm.
U.S. Chief District Judge Margo K. Brodie presided over a one-and-a-half-week-long trial. When sentenced, Pandrella faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.
Zito had operated an illegal loansharking business when Pandrella had informed him that Zito was “hot,” meaning that he was under investigation by authorities. Zito had entrusted Pandrella with $750,000 to hold temporarily, and Pandrella had failed to return the money when Zito tried to collect it.
On October 26, 2018, Pandrella traveled to Zito’s Sheepshead Bay home and shot Zito in the back of the head at close range and stole foreign-made wrist- watches Zito was holding as collateral for the $750,000 loan. Zito’s body was found by his 11-year- old grandson when he re- turned home from school.
Pandrella was caught on security camera footage entering and leaving Zito’s Sheepshead Bay residence, later changing his clothes, shoes and removing the mat on the driver’s side of his vehicle.
Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director- in-Charge, FBI New York Field Office and Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced the verdict.
“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,” stated U.S. Attorney Peace.
“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.”
“Today’s conviction underscores that no one — including associates of organized crime — is above the law,” stated Commissioner Sewell.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys M. Kristin Mace and Matthew R. Galeotti are in charge of the prosecution.