An elderly man swindled out of $400,000 by a postal worker who delivered his mail told a judge Friday that he has become destitute because of the crime.
“I had a real good friend that worked for the post office, and he took me to the cleaners, took everything I had,” the 78-year-old man told a judge during the sentencing phase of the proceeding. “I can’t even fend for myself.”
Peter Saraceno, who stole the money over the last seven years to feed a gambling habit, will face sentencing for his crimes at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
Saraceno’s victim, who now lives in Batavia, told Erie County Judge Michael L. D’Amico that he is now unable to even visit a hospital for his medical conditions.
Saraceno had befriended the man, a fellow veteran who uses a wheelchair, and helped him move into a better house. His relationship with the man stretched over two decades.
But after the man gave Saraceno access to his bank account, the postal carrier embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the man’s life savings to finance a gambling habit, he previously admitted.
“This is a byproduct of casino gambling,” Samuel P. Davis, Saraceno’s attorney, said Friday after the sentencing was postponed until next week. “He realizes he made a mistake and is wholeheartedly apologetic.”
Davis said Saraceno, who was convicted of second-degree grand larceny, declined to comment.
The sentencing was postponed after the prosecution said there were inaccuracies in the presentencing report filed on behalf of Saraceno, who has admitted to stealing roughly $400,000 from the man who he knew for two decades.
Davis then asked for an adjournment to clear up the issues, which D’Amico granted. Saraceno will appear again before D’Amico.