Plymouth man pleads guilty in financial exploitation of mother

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities area man has pleaded guilty to financial exploitation after he wheeled his invalid mother into a bank two years ago to withdraw money hours before she died.

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

Court documents say Vanzo began living with his mother in 2007 and was granted power of attorney over her finances in 2012. He took about $260,000 from his mother’s financial accounts and through a reverse mortgage on her house until she died.

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Bank employees told investigators Vanzo’s mother was slumped over, unresponsive and dragging her feet when Vanzo pushed her wheelchair out the door after making an $850 withdrawal from her account Jan. 5, 2015. The taxi driver who transported Vanzo and his mother to the bank said he drove Vanzo to Buffalo Wild Wings immediately after he took his mother inside the house.

Vanzo called police later that day to report that his mother had died. Officers arrived at the home, which they said “smelled overwhelmingly of urine and feces,” and found Vanzo’s mother lying dead on a soiled bed, still wearing boots and a coat.

Vanzo is expected to be sentenced Feb. 21 to three and a half years in prison.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he was pleased with Vanzo’s guilty plea.

“Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute cases like these where people exploit a vulnerable adult,” he said in a statement.