Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 63 year old Peter Saraceno of 40 Marycrest Lane, West Seneca, pleaded guilty, as charged, to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree before Senior Erie County Court Judge Michael D’Amico. This is the highest charge for which Saraceno could have been convicted had he gone to trial.
The victim, a 78 year-old Reverend and military veteran, was befriended by his postal carrier, Saraceno. Taking advantage of this “friendship,” Saraceno became a joint account holder on one of the victim’s bank accounts, a technique often used by those who embezzle from the elderly. The victim eventually became wheelchair-bound and moved to a Veterans nursing home in Batavia.
Between January 1, 2006 and February 13, 2013, Saraceno stole approximately $400,000 from the victim by writing checks to himself, making wire transfers to himself, and making ATM withdrawals, all from the victim’s accounts. Saraceno blamed the embezzlement on his alleged depression, his alleged post-traumatic stress, and his wife’s heart condition, stating to DA investigators: “It’s not like I stole money and went on vacation.” When pressed by DA investigators, Saraceno eventually admitted that he used the money he stole to finance his casino gambling, which as he explained, relieved his stress and depression.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney and Senior Financial Elder Abuse prosecutor Candace K. Vogel. DA Sedita also lauded the efforts of the VA Inspector General and the US Postal Service Inspector’s Office, as well as DA Investigators John Cleary and William Donovan, stating: “Because of their diligent investigation, a financial predator has been brought to justice.”
Saraceno faces a maximum prison term of 15 years when he is sentenced before Judge D’Amico September 27, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.