Man charged with stealing from daughter's trust fund
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A Coraopolis man who surrendered to police on Tuesday said he stole $200,000 from his daughter's trust fund because he "was out of a job and didn't have any money coming in," investigators wrote in court documents.
Detectives with the Allegheny County district attorney's office began investigating Mark Piccolo, 53, in November, about a month after the co-trustee on the account raised suspicions about one of 40 invoices Mr. Piccolo submitted in an effort to remove money from his daughter's trust.
Court records show that the trust was created after Mr. Piccolo's daughter settled a lawsuit with Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and Allegheny Obstetrics and Gynecology Ltd. The details of that settlement are under a court seal.
The co-trustee on the trust, Ben Alper, called the billing department at the Texas Nerve & Paralysis Institute in Houston, Texas, in October when he found it odd that an invoice Mr. Piccolo submitted from them was dated on a Sunday. A worker told Mr. Alper that they had no record of Mr. Piccolo's daughter visiting a doctor at the institute and that their office "had never billed the Piccolos one single dollar," detectives wrote in a criminal complaint.
Mr. Alper filed a suspicious incident report with the bank holding the trust. A worker in the bank's fraud department told detectives Mr. Piccolo confessed to submitting fraudulent forms for reimbursement as far back as 2009, according to the complaint. In a second conversation with a bank representative, Mr. Piccolo said he was unemployed and "this was the money they were using to live on," police said.
Detectives from the Allegheny County district attorney's office joined the investigation and later identified 40 invoices that they suspect Mr. Piccolo submitted for services his daughter did not receive or that he did not pay for in full.
Detectives said he created receipts purporting to be from the Phoenix Children's Hospital, the Texas Nerve & Paralysis Institute and from a local occupational therapist. They said he tried to obtain money to cover accounting services for which the bank in charge of the trust was already paying.
Mr. Piccolo surrendered to detectives with the district attorney's office Tuesday morning. He was arraigned on one count of theft and three counts of forgery and faces a preliminary hearing July 19. He did not have an attorney on file Tuesday night.
First Published July 11, 2012 12:00 am