Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today (Oct. 28) announced felony charges against an Oswego County husband and wife accused of abusing power of attorney to steal from an 84-year-old woman in their care.
David Tetro Jr. and Morgan Tetro, both of Minetto, allegedly stole more than $200,000 of the victim’s money for their personal use, including more than $100,000 in gambling debts, purchases at Victoria’s Secret and assorted transactions on iTunes, Ebay and Facebook.
Both defendants are charged with grand larceny, as well as falsely claiming taxpayer-funded public benefits, and face up 20 years each in prison.
The victim, Colonel (Ret.) Irene Dennison, spent nearly 25 years serving in the United States Air Force, retiring in 1982 as a full colonel.
She was instrumental in helping to negotiate the 1973 release of Senator John McCain when he was a P.O.W. in Vietnam.
Col. Dennison was one of a group of area veterans honored last year. See story here: http://oswegocountytoday.com/community-honors-distinguished-veterans-during-ceremony-in-clay/
“Stealing from anyone is wrong; stealing from an elderly woman who served her country is abhorrent,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a press release. “Today’s indictment sends the message that those seeking to abuse the trust of someone they care for will be caught and brought to justice.”
Dennison rented a house to David Tetro Jr. several years ago and came to trust both him and his wife.
According to the indictment and statements made at arraignment, the defendants eventually became her primary care providers and had exclusive control over her affairs, including a power of attorney for almost three years.
As alleged, the Tetros spent approximately $200,000 of the victim’s money during that time on personal expenditures, including more than $140,000 in gambling losses at Turning Stone Casino in Verona and several thousand dollars more in casino-related travel expenses to purchases on Ebay and other e-commerce sites.
The alleged frauds were discovered when David Tetro applied to Oswego County for Medicaid benefits and the income he listed didn’t match his expenditures, particularly the gambling losses.
The indictment further accuses the Tetros of falsely obtaining thousands of dollars in welfare and Medicaid benefits while they were living off the stolen funds.
Both are charged with additional counts of grand larceny and welfare fraud. Additionally, Morgan Tetro faces two counts of tax fraud for allegedly failing to report the money stolen from the victim, thereby evading thousands of dollars in income tax liability.
The Attorney General’s office thanks New York State Police BCI Investigators Alex Kurilovitch, Andrew Reed, Benjamin Miller and Joseph Saarie, Oswego County Department of Social Services, the New York State Police Financial Crimes Unit and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for their assistance throughout the investigation.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Clark of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau.
The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chiefs Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.
The investigation was conducted by Investigator Samuel Scotellaro III, with assistance from Investigators Joel Cordone and David Buske. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella. Forensic audit work was performed by Associate Auditor Jason Blair. The Chief Auditor in the Forensic Audit Unit is Edward J. Keegan.
The charges against the defendants are allegations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.