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Zannino Guilty Of Gambling, Loansharking Charges

March 6, 1987

BOSTON (AP) _ Reputed mob boss Ilario M.A. Zannino, confined to a wheelchair and attended by medical technicians during a six-week trial, was found guilty Friday on gambling and loansharking charges.

Zannino showed no reaction when the verdict was announced, but as he left the U.S. District courtroom he said: ″I hope the jury dies tonight.″

The jury, which Judge David Nelson had ordered sequestered during its deliberations, took 5 1/2 hours before finding Zannino, 66, guilty on two counts of illegal gaming and one of loansharking.

Sentencing was set for Thursday.

Defense attorney Joseph J. Balliro said he would appeal.

The trial, interrupted repeatedly by Zannino’s complaints of health problems, grew out of the 1983 indictment that also named Gennaro J. Angiulo and other people alleged to be members of New England’s organized crime family.

Angiulo, three of his brothers and one other person associate were convicted in February on various racketeering and gambling charges. Angiulo is serving a 45-year sentence.

Zannino’s trial was severed from the rest because of heart problems.

Zannino faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

During closing arguments Thursday, Prosecutor Jane Serene described Zannino as ″an enthusiastic member of a criminal organization″ that makes money by loansharking and gambling, and as violent and cold-hearted.

Serene, special attorney with the Justice Department, said the jury should focus on secret FBI tape recordings in which Zannino reminisced about collecting on bad debts and talks about threatening people and their family members if they failed to repay him.

Balliro argued the government’s case was based on doctored evidence and that Zannino was merely a player in a friendly gambling club, not a big-money organizer.

Balliro said the tapes were ″manipulated″ to depict Zannino in an unjust light.

Zannino still faces other charges, including racketeering and murder.

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