ON FRAUD OR MURDER.
Nashwauk man faces charges of $1 million swindle from his late uncle
Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:20 pm
GRAND RAPIDS — A Nashwauk man is being accused of swindling more than $1 million from his late uncle who suffered from dementia.
Patrick V. Pecchia, 55, made his first appearance Monday in Itasca County District Court in Grand Rapids on one felony count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
He obtained power of attorney for his ailing uncle, Joseph L. Pecchia, in 2007 after Joseph began suffering from dementia.
Patrick Pecchia used the money to gamble, buy a new car and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card bills from 2007 until Joseph, a longtime Nashwauk resident, passed away in 2011 at age 79, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint includes copies of canceled checks, purchases and payments made by Pecchia through his uncle’s accounts, including:
• $10,700 to purchase a new snowplow that Pecchia used to clear snow at his businesses.
• $29,295 to purchase a new Chrysler 300 car.
• $48,000 in transfers from the uncle’s account to his bank account.
• $40,844 in VISA bill payments.
• $107,062 to himself in cashier’s checks.
• $119,501 in checks for “questionable gambling.”
• $146,207 to Discover Credit Card.
• $203,701 in counter checks.
• $258,993 to Capital One Credit.
• $50,000 to an account in the name of Pecchia Boys, Inc.
The complaint also details that upon his uncle’s death, Pecchia wrote checks from his uncle’s account to accounts Pecchia had set up under the names of his sons. Investigators said Pecchia’s sons seemed “shocked” and apparently knew nothing about the uncle’s checks, according to the complaint.
Several other checks from his uncle’s account were cashed with many of them noted as gambling money. Pecchia said that he would take his uncle gambling, and that he would cover the cost of his own expenses during the trips.
Medical records clearly show that the uncle would not have benefited from traveling to a gambling location to the extent of the withdrawals that were made or that he would have been physically capable of traveling, according to the criminal complaint.
Pecchia is the owner of Pecchia Boys, Inc, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State website. He is also listed as the owner of the Nashwauk Bottle Shop, Pecchia Clean Car Wash and Nashwauk Little Store.
Judge Jon Maturi Monday released Pecchia on conditions that he stay in contact with his attorney, report for booking at the Itasca County Jail and remain law abiding. His next appearance is scheduled for Jan. 26.
Phone messages left Tuesday for both Pecchia and his attorney, John Undem, were not returned.
The crime is a felony that could bring a fine of up to $100,000 and up to 20 years in prison.