A Plymouth man pleaded guilty Monday to stealing thousands of dollars from his elderly mother, including wheeling her while unresponsive into a bank to make a withdrawal just hours before she was pronounced dead.
David Vanzo, 59, of Plymouth, will serve 3½ years in prison for financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult over $35,000. Charges of criminal neglect and attempted theft by swindle were dismissed.
"It is hard to comprehend how a son could be so greedy as to pack his obviously ailing mother into a taxi and push her into the bank just to obtain a few more dollars," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. "He was her primary care provider and he failed at that, as well."
Vanzo was arrested in March in California and extradited to Minnesota. He will be sentenced Feb. 21.
According to the criminal complaint: Vanzo and his 90-year-old mother entered a Wells Fargo branch office in January 2015, where he withdrew $850 from his mother's account. The woman was slumped over in her wheelchair, unresponsive and dragging her feet as Vanzo pushed the chair, witnesses said.
Six hours later, Vanzo called Plymouth police to report his mother's death. Officers found her on a soiled bed, still in a coat and boots. A medical examiner who said she was covered in feces and painful bed sores was unable to determine whether she would have been alive at the bank.
Vanzo moved in with his mother in 2007 and was given power of attorney over her finances in 2012. Until her death, Vanzo allegedly withdrew about $260,000 from her accounts and a reverse mortgage and spent the money on gambling and women.
He admitted Monday in court that his mother was a vulnerable adult and he took more than $35,000 and used it for himself. He acknowledged that this was a major economic offense because it involved substantially more than $35,000 and he made numerous bank transactions over a number of years.
Such an admission allows the judge to impose a higher sentence than what the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines would otherwise allow.