Crook without a conscience
U.S. Postal Inspector, Daniel Forrester, had a recent case where the victim was just too trusting. "He seemed to pounce on this opportunity when she was away in the hospital," Forrester said.
"He" is Ralph Cozzino. Prosecutors say he stole more than $279,000 dollars in stock certificates from an elderly woman. "The victim was away receiving cancer treatment and in the hospital at the time."
Stealing the certificates was just the start of this scheme. Forrester explained, "He created a fraudulent power of attorney, which contained her social security number, her forged signature and her personal information."
How did he get all of this private information from the victim? Forrester said the victime knew her well. "She was a friend of his mother. He knew she was stricken with cancer and it was just a coincidence that he offered to take care of her place while she was away in the hospital."
Investigators say that a s a result, Cozzino had the time to go through her belongings to get this information. He then liquidated the stocks and quickly spent the money on himself. Forrester told us the things Cozzino spent the money on. "Eye surgery, travel, payment for a new vehicle also a down payment for a new home."
Postal inspectors got involved after the transferring agency involved with the stocks suspected something wasn't right. They quickly zeroed in on Cozzino and they say it is imperative to keep valuables hidden. "Even though you're not home, valuables like that perhaps you should lock them in a safe box," Forrester told us,
Ralph Cozzino pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges and is serving more than 2 years in prison. Sadly. The victim in this case passed away before she knew about the crime.
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