Dartmouth Woman Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Stealing More Than $1.2 Million From Elderly Doctor
Also Ordered to Pay Full Restitution
FALL RIVER – A Dartmouth woman has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to two years in jail for stealing more than $1.2 million from an elderly doctor whom she was paid to care for, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the full amount.
Gloria Balestracci, age 68, pleaded guilty today in a Bristol Superior Court to the charges of Larceny over $250 from a Person Over 60 (1 count), Forgery (4 counts), Uttering (4 counts), Making and Subscribing False Tax Returns (2 counts) and Aiding and Assisting in Making False Statements on Income Tax Returns (2 counts).
After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge D. Lloyd MacDonald sentenced Balestracci to two years in the House of Correction. Judge MacDonald also ordered Balestracci to pay restitution in the amount of $1,216,292.71 and to serve 10 years of probation upon completion of her sentence.
“This defendant took advantage of an elderly man that she was supposed to care for and stole over a million dollars from him, which was nearly his entire life savings that he had earned working as a doctor,” AG Coakley said. “Through this sentence, she is being held accountable for exploiting a vulnerable citizen when she was in a position of power and trust.”
Several family members of the late doctor delivered impact statements in court today regarding the negative effects that Balestracci’s actions have had on their family due to the victimization of their family member.
In October 2009, the AG’s Office began an investigation after the matter was referred by the New Bedford Police Department. Gloria Balestracci worked as the office manager for the New Bedford-based doctor for more than 13 years, and when he retired, continued working for him, assisting him with paying bills, buying groceries, and general home and health care. As the doctor’s health declined, Balestracci became his primary home and health aid. Balestracci was paid weekly by the doctor for her work.
From about 2004 through 2009, Balestracci stole more than $1.2 million from the doctor. Balestracci forged signatures of the doctor and her family members on checks that she cashed for her personal benefit. She also made credit card payments from the doctor’s account to credit cards in her name. The doctor passed away in September 2009. It was after his death that authorities discovered the larceny.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David Clayton and Assistant Attorney General Margret Cooke, both through AG Coakley’s Fraud and Financial Crimes Division, with assistance from Financial Investigator Jaclyn Morrill also from the AG’s Office, Department of Revenue Investigators Janel Cosgrove and John Miles, and State Police from the AG’s Office.