Gambino Crime Family Associate Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Murder and Robbery of Brooklyn Man
Defendant Killed His Longtime Friend with a Gunshot to the Back of the Head
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Anthony Pandrella, an associate of the Gambino organized crime family, was sentenced by United States Chief District Judge Margo K. Brodie to 40 years’ imprisonment for the murder of 77-year-old Vincent Zito, Hobbs Act robbery and unlawful use of a firearm. Pandrella was convicted of the charges following a one and a half-week trial in June 2022. Restitution will be determined at a later date.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.
“All for greed, the defendant ruthlessly executed his longtime friend after being welcomed into his home,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Pandrella’s cold-blooded crime has cost him dearly with the loss of his freedom for decades.”
“With today’s sentence, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners reaffirm our commitment to hold every violent criminal in our community accountable,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “This defendant showed a callous disregard for human life, and his association with organized crime will not shield him from justice. I thank and commend the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, the New York Field Office of the FBI, and everyone who worked on this important case.”
The defendant and Zito were friends for more than 30 years. Zito was running an illegal loansharking business and had been warned by Pandrella that he was “hot,” meaning that he was under investigation by law enforcement. Zito had given Pandrella $750,000 from the business to hold for safekeeping, but when he tried to collect the money back from Pandrella, the defendant failed to return it. On the morning of October 26, 2018, Pandrella went to the Sheepshead Bay home of Zito and while there, shot his friend in the back of the head at close range. Pandrella also stole expensive foreign-made wristwatches that the victim was holding as collateral for a customer’s loan. Pandrella was captured on security camera footage entering and leaving Zito’s residence at the time of the murder and robbery. After leaving the victim’s residence, Pandrella went home and additional security video from his neighborhood showed that the defendant changed his shoes and clothing, and removed the driver’s side floor mat of his vehicle so it could be cleaned. Zito’s body was discovered by his 11-year-old grandson when the boy returned home from school. The murder weapon was recovered at the scene and Pandrella’s DNA was found on the trigger and grip of the firearm.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys M. Kristin Mace and Matthew R. Galeotti are in charge of the prosecution with the assistance of paralegal Teri Carby.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-122 (MKB)