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Nashwauk man pleads guilty of bilking uncle out of $1 million

GRAND RAPIDS - A Nashwauk businessman has pleaded guilty to bilking his now-deceased uncle out of more than $1 million and using the funds to gamble, buy a new car and pay off debts.

GRAND RAPIDS - A Nashwauk businessman has pleaded guilty to bilking his now-deceased uncle out of more than $1 million and using the funds to gamble, buy a new car and pay off debts.

Patrick Vincent Pecchia, 55, pleaded to a charge of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a felony, on Monday in district court in Grand Rapids.

Pecchia faces a presumptive six-year prison sentence; however, that time is expected to be stayed in favor of 20 years of supervised probation, under the terms of a plea agreement.

The conditions of probation, if approved by a judge, also would include a year in the Itasca County Jail and a restitution payment of $871,667.09. He will be sentenced March 16.

Pecchia, a longtime Itasca County resident and owner of the Nashwauk Bottle Shop and Pecchia Clean Car Wash, remains free on his own recognizance.

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A criminal complaint alleged that Pecchia "financially exploited" his uncle, Joseph L. Pecchia, out of just more than $1.01 million over a several-year period. The uncle, who was afflicted with dementia, died in 2011 at age 79. According to his obituary, Joseph Pecchia was the last of 10 children in his family to die. He was an English and Spanish teacher in the Deer River and Virginia school districts.

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