, Salem, MA

Local News

December 13, 2013

Man pleads guilty to loansharking, extortion

"Tony the Fruit Guy" to be sentenced next month


The shooting sparked a police investigation that let to search warrants being issued for Polsonetti’s home and business. Those searches turned up a ledger containing information on loans made by Polsonetti, as well as a bag of oxycodone pills, enough to charge Polsonetti with drug trafficking.

Investigators learned of a Beverly man who had borrowed $5,000 at an interest rate that amounted to 150 percent per year, and a Manchester man who had borrowed $3,000, also at a usurious interest rate.

Then, as the case was being presented to a grand jury, Polsonetti leaned on the Beverly man, Dawley said. He wanted the man to deny to the grand jury that he’d borrowed money from Polsonetti.

The drug charge was reduced yesterday to possession with intent to distribute, partly as a result of the fact that the state chemist who tested the pills was Annie Dookhan, who has pleaded guilty to falsifying drug test results and lying about her credentials.

Polsonetti is also facing an attempted murder charge, as well as a charge of conspiracy, but prosecutors expect to drop those counts once the plea agreement is completed next month.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 27. Polsonetti is expected to receive a 31/2-to-seven-year prison term.

Lu warned Polsonetti that while he is free on bail awaiting sentencing, probation officers will have the authority to conduct random searches of his home and business and conduct random drug tests.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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