FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Reputed U.S. mobster Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday in the 2001 slaying of a prominent Florida businessman during a power struggle over a lucrative fleet of gambling ships.
The jury also found Moscatiello, 77, guilty of murder conspiracy in the shooting death of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, founder of a chain of casinos and restaurants. Evidence showed Boulis was killed by a mob hit man, and Moscatiello was accused of ordering the slaying. He faces a possible sentence of death or life in prison.
Moscatiello's wife fainted after the verdict was read.
Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, who handled Florida matters for Moscatiello, was convicted previously and sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Moscatiello was a member of New York's Gambino crime family when he issued the fateful order for a hit. Moscatiello did not testify in his own defense, but his lawyers insisted that it was Ferrari and others were to blame for the Feb. 6, 2001, slaying.
At the time, Boulis, 51, was trying to retake control of SunCruz Casinos after selling the company to businessman Adam Kidan and his partner. Kidan paid Moscatiello and Ferrari thousands of dollars a month to handle security and other issues - including, prosecutors said, the use of Moscatiello's alleged mob ties for protection.
"He's the person everybody answers to," Assistant State Attorney Gregg Rossman said in a closing argument. "It all leads right back to him."
Key evidence included phone calls from Ferrari to Moscatiello, who was in New York shortly after Boulis was fatally shot by a gunman who pulled up next to his car as he left his office. Other organized crime figures and a former Ferrari associate testified that Moscatiello approached them initially about getting rid of Boulis before hiring a hit man to do the deed. The hit man was slain in an unrelated dispute in 2003.
Moscatiello attorney Kenneth Malnik told jurors the evidence pointed more toward Kidan, who had several clashes with Boulis, and Ferrari employee James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, who admitted to conducting surveillance of Boulis and disposing of the murder weapon in Miami's Biscayne Bay.
"Who has more motive in this case? It's hands down Adam Kidan," Malnik said.
Kidan has never been charged in the Boulis case and testified in both trials. Fiorillo pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy and will likely be sentenced to the six-plus years he already served in exchange for his testimony. He has denied being the shooter. Kidan and his partner both did federal prison time after pleading guilty to fraud.