Anthony Zottola Sr, 41, has been indicted on charges that he plotted the death of his father, reputed Mafia associate Sylvester Zottola, in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Investigators said he was also responsible for the near-fatal shooting against his older brother, Salvatore Zottola.
Prosecutors with the Eastern District of New York unsealed the indictment against Anthony Zottola on June 18, 2019. He is accused of conspiring with alleged Bloods gang members to carry out the attacks. Zottola and the nine others are charged with multiple crimes including orchestrating a murder-for-hire conspiracy and causing death through the use of a firearm.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney stated in a news release about the charges, “There is apparently no love lost between Mr. Zottola and his family members, so much so he allegedly hired members of the Bloods gang to kill his brother and father.”
Zottola Sr. was arrested and booked into the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, according to inmate records.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Prosecutors: Anthony Zottola Began Plotting His Father & Brother’s Deaths in 2017 By Hiring One of the Co-Defendants
Justice Department prosecutors say that Anthony Zottola Sr. set a plan in motion to murder his father and brother as early as 2017. Officials say Anthony first hired Bloods gang member Bushawn Shelton, also known by the nickname “Shelz.”
Shelton then allegedly brought in the additional co-defendants to help carry out attacks Sylvester and Salvatore Zottola. The other defendants are listed in the indictment:
- Herman Blanco, nicknamed “Taliban”
- Arthur Codner, nicknames “Feddi,” “Feddi Bossgod” and “Scary”
- Jason Cummings, nicknames “The Hat” and “Stacks”
- Alfred Lopez, nicknamed “Aloe”
- Kalik McFarlane, nicknamed “Dottkom”
- Branden Peterson, nicknamed “Mur B”
- Himen Ross, nicknames “Ace” and “A Boggie”
- Julian Snipe, nicknames “Bizzzy” and “Biz”
2. The Alleged Conspirators Referred to the Attacks Using Movie References
Anthony Zottola Sr. and the rest of the accused team discussed the planned hits against Sylvester and Salvatore as if they were planning to film a movie.
Prosecutors explained in a news release that Bushawn Shelton and Anthony exchanged text messages about their plans. The planned murder of Sylvester Zottola was referred to as “the filming” and the “final scene.” Sylvester was described as “the actor.” The gunman was called “the director.”
U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue stated in the Justice Department news release, “As alleged, Zottola Sr. set in motion a deadly plot to kill his father and brother, with Bloods gang members carrying out extreme acts of violence to collect a payoff for the hits. Zottola. Sr. and Shelton referred to the planned murders as ‘filming’ a movie, but thanks to the outstanding work of law enforcement, the ending of their plot will take place in a federal courthouse.”
3. Sylvester Zottola Was Killed While Waiting For Food at a McDonald’s Drive-Thru After Surviving Other Attempts On His Life
Sylvester Zottola was shot and killed on October 4, 2018, at the age of 71. He was sitting in his vehicle in a McDonald’s drive-thru in the Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx. He was hit in the head, shoulder and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Prosecutors said the alleged gunman texted Bushawn Shelton afterward, “Done.” Shelton then texted Anthony Zottola a few minutes later, “Can we party today or tomorrow?”
Investigators said Zottola agreed to meet with Shelton the following day and that payment for the hit was forthcoming. He texted back to Shelton, “I have the cases of water in a day or so.” Prosecutors added that they also uncovered a photo from Shelton’s cellphone of a cardboard box of bottled water along with $200,000.
According to the news release, Zottola messaged Shelton again three days later. “All good. Did you drink the water. Was it the right one.” Shelton responded, “Definitely was the right one thanks I was able to water the plants and get some of them squared away.”
The murder of Sylvester Zottola came after multiple other attempts on his life. One of those attacks happened inside his own home on December 27, 2017. The elder Zottola was stabbed multiple times, had his throat slashed and hit over the head with a gun, but survived that attack.
Sylvester Zottola was a reputed associate of the Bonnano crime family. He was allegedly connected to Vincent Basciano, otherwise known by the nickname “Vinny Gorgeous.” The two were accused of operating Joker Poker machines together. Basciano was convicted to life in prison in 2011 for two murders.
4. Salvatore Zottola Was Shot Outside His Home in July of 2018 But Survived
Anthony Zottola’s older brother, Salvatore Zottola, was shot multiple times outside of his own home on July 11, 2018. Nearby surveillance video captured the moment that a red sedan drove up alongside Salvatore’s vehicle.
He rolled away as the gunman got out of the passenger’s side door and aimed the gun. Salvatore was shot in the chest and hand, while his head was grazed. He survived the attack and later refused to cooperate with investigators at the hospital. Salvatore was home alone at the time of the attack; his wife and two children were reportedly at the Jersey Shore at the time.
Salvatore Zottola does not have a criminal record in New York, despite his family’s alleged ties to the Bonnano crime family. He appears to have been on friendly terms Vincent Basciano; they were photographed together by federal investigators and the photo was presented during Basciano’s trial
5. Anthony Zottola Sr. is Listed as the CEO of a Real Estate Company in the Bronx
Anthony Zottola Sr. is allegedly involved in real estate. A search of public records on the New York Secretary of State’s website shows that he is the CEO of a company called Tier Street Realty Corp. headquartered in the Bronx. The business was registered in March of 2017. It does not appear to have an official website.
Prosecutors shared in the news release that Anthony Zottola lives in Larchmont, which is located in Westchester County, New York. Investigators seized approximately $100,000 in cash from Zottola’s home when he was arrested.