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Gloucester Man Pleads Guilty to Extortion, Loansharking and Other Charges

The case started two years ago when another man emptied 14 shots from a high-powered rifle into a West Peabody home.

Anthony "Tony the Fruit Guy" Polsonetti, Jr., 54, pleaded guilty to loansharking, extortion, attempting to suborn perjury and drug distribution last week in Salem Superior Court in connection to a February 2011 incident when a man emptied 14 shots from a high-powered rifle into a Lowell Street home.

The shooting was the work of Christopher Sherry, a Beverly man now serving six to eight years in state prison after he pleaded guilty last year. Sherry was hired by Polsonetti, a Gloucester loan shark, to collect a $3,000 debt with 60 percent interest from a Peabody man.

Sherry was initially duped by the man into thinking he had the wrong person, and then upon discovering the ruse, Sherry returned early the next morning, opening fire at the home.

Sherry and Polsonetti were both indicted by a grand jury in August 2011. During the course of the investigation, authorities became aware of at least two other North Shore debtors of Polsonetti's, reports the Salem News.

The paper reports prosecutors claim that during grand jury testimony, Polsonetti tried to coerce one of those debtors to deny he borrowed money from Polsonetti.

Polsonetti was originally charged with conspiracy and attempted murder as well, but prosecutors plan to drop those charges once a plea deal is finalized, reports the Salem News.

Polsonetti's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27.

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