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Swindler faces prison time

Donald Militello pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree grand larceny for duping an elderly West Side Buffalo widow out of $66,850.

Jailed since his arrest Jan. 23, Militello, 51, of Tulane Road, Kenmore, was told by Erie County Judge Shirley Troutman he faces a prison term of three to six years when he is sentenced March 18.

Prosecutor Candace K. Vogel said Militello and his wife, Patricia, 50, swindled the elderly widow, 85, out of the money by telling her they needed the cash to pay for the funeral expenses of an elderly relative and to cover legal expenses in a court case again them.

Troutman on Tuesday placed Patricia Militello on probation for the next five years on her guilty plea to the same second-degree grand larceny charge lodged against the couple by an Erie County grand jury more than a year ago.

Donald Militello, the former employee of a Buffalo-area plumbing company, was a fugitive until his Jan. 23 arrest, Vogel said.

The couple will be forced to sign confessions of judgment, making them jointly liable for full repayment to the woman.

Vogel said the Erie County district attorney's office was contacted by officials of M&T Bank who were concerned about the unnamed victim, who was repeatedly withdrawing large sums from her bank account for the Militellos.

None of the money has been recovered, and authorities still do not know what the Militellos did with it.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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