Cosmo J. (Pinky) Panarelli – aka “George Paranello” – was was born on April 1, 1920 in Worcester, MA, where he was raised and would reside at 46 Plainview Avenue, and later at 21 Villa Road in nearby Shrewsbury.
Panarelli operated in the Worcester area most of his life.
He had also relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada for some years at one point residing in a leased home at 421 Sands Avenue.
He had a mob-affiliated brother named Gerald Panarelli (FBI # 300156), also active with the Worcester regime.
“Pinky” stood at a solid 6-feet tall and weighed in at 200-pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He was married to Grace (née DiLeo) and they had one son named Frankie.
He was known to hold court almost daily at his hangout at the La Scala Italian Restaurant in Worcester.
He was very well acquainted and closely associated with most members of the New England mob’s varied Families including:
• Raymond Patriarca
• Ilario (Larry Baione) Zannino
• Henry (Noyes) Selvitella
• Carlo Mastrototaro
• Ray Thomas
• Anthony (Tony Canadian) Sandrelli
• Salvatore (Big Nose Sam) Cufari
• Nicholas Camerota
• Anthony (Champ) Sanfratello
• Abby Alimonti
• Albert (Baba) Scibelli
• Anthony (The Turk) Scibelli
…..and all members of the Worcester and Springfield factions of the Genovese Family of LCN.
He was also well known to the Massachusetts Crime Commission as a resident mafioso active in the Worcester section of the state. Investigators made official inquiries into Pinky’s activities several times over the years.
He was primarily active in varied gambling rackets. Bookmaking and floating crap games seemed to be his mainstay.
In the 1960s, he was also was known to dabble in the fencing stolen stock certificates.
Early Boston mob informant Vincent (Fat Vinny) Teresa had implicated him and several others in this activity for transporting stolen stocks down through New York City and Florida.
Cosmo Panarelli was alleged to handle a large bookmaking “lay-off” network, and later a lively gambling-junket business to Las Vegas, London, and several Bahamian casino’s for his regime.
His arrest record commences in 1947 and includes mostly gambling and DMV related offenses:
• 1947 – intoxicated
• 1949 – stop sign
• 1951 – drunk
•1952 – maintaining a gambling den and promoting gambling
• 1952 – excessive speeding
• 1954 – accepting bets on horse races
• 1954 – evasive driving
• 1954 – bookmaking (horses)
• 1955 – promoting gambling
• 1956 – receiving bets (horses)
• 1959 – speeding
• 1961 – public intoxication
• 1964 – investigation
Side note: A 1990s proposed Genovese “induction list” fell into the hands of the FBI some years ago. Panarelli’s name was on that list indicating his date of death in 1989. And it listed the “proposed” future inductee – Salvatore Ceterulo (surname spelled wrong) – who was scheduled to take his particular place in the borgata.
In the early 1960s, it was reported by informants that there was bad blood between the Springfield, MA, Capodecina Big Nose Sam Cufari and Boston’s Jerry Angiulo over a $4,200 debt Pinky Panarelli had owed Angiulo.
Panarelli and Carlo Mastrototaro both acknowledged the debt but stated that Angiulo stated to Panarelli in Mastrototaro’s presence around Christmas time the previous year that the debt was forgiven.
Angiulo said to consider it an early Christmas gift from Angiulo to Panarelli….Angiulo denied ever making that statement.
Cufari ruled in Pinky’s favor causing bad feelings…. Boss Ray Patriarca was requested to make arrangements to visit Worcester one weekend to meet with Sam Cufari to try and settle this matter.
In 1964, it was reported that Pinky was supposedly relieved of his duty several years back of supervising a numbers and horse-betting operation in Worcester in favor of soldier Carlo Mastrototaro, who was alleged to have taken over control of it. It was alleged by informers that the gambling operation returned a net profit of $84,000 for the year, after Mastrototaro took control.
And that this figure didn’t include the weekly profits already distributed to soldiers Panarelli, Chester Iacone and his brothers, James Collaro, Francis Santo and Champ Sanfratello. Capo Sam Cufari was said to have also received 50% of the annual net profits of this operation.
In 1974, Pinky Panarelli, Angelo Urgitano aka “Angelo Cheesecake”, a well known soldier from E. 114th Street in East Harlem’s Lucchese Family ruled at that time by Carmine Tramunti, and Joe Razzano who was a Brooklyn born blackjack dealer employed at the Stardust Casino were stopped at the airport in Las Vegas and questioned by law enforcement authorities as to their purposes for visiting Las Vegas and San Diego, California.
They were staying together in a suite Panarelli was leasing at a top hotel along the strip. They said they had only gone there to enjoy the casino gaming and horse races at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego…. not for any nefarious purposes.
Cosmo Panarelli was also said to have completely relocated to Las Vegas for a time, first residing and hanging out at The Dunes Hotel & Casino as his base of operations before renting a house. It was alleged by informers that he was attempting to operate as a bookmaker, possibly in partnership with Urgitano, and had put out word that he was looking for a few good “runners” to operate under him.
He was lining up to book football bets that fall in partnership with ex-East Harlem native and well-known bookmaker Jasper Speciale (nephew of consigliere Vincey Rao), owner of the popular Tower of Pizza (NY style pizza) restaurant on the strip. Panarelli and Chicago mob figure Anthony (Tony the Ant) Spilotro had also allegedly bankrolled a top poker player who ended up losing the $10,000 bankroll they had provided him.
Side note: Urgitano was said by an informant to have brought a lot of money with him on this trip. ReputedSan Diego LCN soldier Joe Li Mandri had invited Panarelli for a visit. It was said that the two mafiosi had been intimate friends for years.
Angelo Cheesecake had experience in running junkets to London and Yugoslavia, but had discontinued this service after it became unprofitable. He and Panarelli were collaborating with partnering in a new junket service to Vegas from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston. Urgitano stated that he would happily relocate to Vegas as Panarelli had if their proposed venture proved successful.
Another facet of Pinky’s move to Nevada was to financially back an expert “loball” player by the name of Jimmy Cassella. Panarelli stated that Cassella was the best loball player on the circuit and that he and Urgitano were backing Cassella playing in large-stakes matches at various casino’s.
Pinky had also “reached” out to Casino owner Nick Simponis to ease off on a $30-40,000 debt owed to Simponis by Cassella so they could operate more freely.
After he returned to the Worcester area from Vegas, and got a bit older, Pinky seems to have been able to shed the spotlight a bit. He didn’t figure into any more major police probes and seems to have backed up a bit or at least kept a very low profile.
He is believed to have died around 1989 or so.
There was some speculation that he was killed, but there is no evidence to back up those claims.
Cosmo (Pinky) Panarelli was another one of those all important, often little-known, rank and file members of the various Five Families. One of the many “soldiers” who made Cosa Nostra the powerhouse that it’s been throughout this country for the last 100 years!
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