Guilty plea from son who forced mother to make bank withdrawal just before her death

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Plymouth man, who wheeled his mother into a local bank in order to obtain money just hours before she was pronounced dead in her home, has pleaded guilty to financial exploitation, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

David John Vanzo, 59, pleaded guilty to one count of financial exploitation over $35,000.

“We are pleased with the guilty plea today from Mr. Vanzo,” Freeman said. “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. He was her primary care provider and he failed at that, as well. Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute cases like these where people exploit a vulnerable adult.”

Vanzo was scheduled to go on trial Monday morning, but opted to plead guilty. He admitted that his mother was a vulnerable adult and he took over $35,000 in funds and used them for himself. In addition, he admitted 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. By admitting that, it allows the judge to impose a higher sentence than what the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines would otherwise allow.

According to the criminal complaint, Vanzo began living with his mother in 2007. He was eventually given power of attorney over her finances in 2012. From that time until his mother’s death in January of 2015, Vanzo took about $260,000 from his mother’s accounts and through a reverse mortgage on her house.

Vanzo will be sentenced on Feb. 21 and is expected to receive 42 months in prison.