On Tuesday Mark Colasuonno appeared in a Pasadena court for the beginning of his trail for Grand Theft by embezzlement. But that trial did not begin. Instead Colasuonno was arrested, yet again, on three additional charges. In the courtroom, Monrovia Police Detective Sergeant Glen Coleman arrested the “Tax Doctor” on three more felony charges.
As for the first matter – the charges for which Colasuonno was originally scheduled to appear on Tuesday – the proceedings were trailed (delayed) until this afternoon (Thursday). Colasuonno is currently in custody, and he most likely will stay there, having told Monrovia Police Detective Rich Doney that he does not have funds necessary to meet the $307,000 bail.
But this may just be the beginning.
“We believe there are as many as 38 victims, with losses totaling approximately $8 million,” said Doney, who went on to say that “around half [of the victims] were senior citizens”. Coleman added they were investigating the cases of several other victims but that “it takes a great deal of time to document all the information.”
In this new case, Coleman arrested and Monrovia Police booked Colasuonno on three new counts including 470(a) Forgery, 368(d) Fiduciary Abuse of an Elder, and 487(a) Grand Theft. The victim in this new case is John Greco, who was born in 1936. The amount alleged to have been stolen from Greco was almost $240,000.
Greco’s wife, Marie, contacted this newspaper in February following our original story which first cast public light on the charges against the former Tax Doctor. In a story which ran in our March 5 edition, Greco recounted the painful story of how she and her husband had become victims of Colasuonno.
“We knew Mark for 20 years,” Mrs. Greco related. “My husband and I had gone out to dinner with him and his wife. He has eaten in my home.”
Greco said that Colasuonno had worked with her husband, the victim in this new case, and that they had gone to him when he had opened the Tax Doctor because of their long time association.
At that time, the Grecos were still unable to believe that their trusted friend and tax preparer could have committed such crimes against them and so many others. “I trusted this guy, said Mrs. Greco. “We can’t believe he did this to us.”
The new case alleges that the money which Greco removed from savings to invest with Colasuonno was not invested into a common, lower risk annuity, as Colasuonno had promised. The Tax Doctor claimed that he could get a 12 percent return on their investment. Not only was there never any return on their investment, but according to Detective Doney, the original capital was also lost.
Colasuonno was arraigned on the three new counts late on Wednesday and pled not guilty. According to Deputy District Attorney Melanie Buccat who is handling the first case, as of Wednesday, the new case has not been assigned to a Deputy D.A., but that she hopes it will be assigned to her based on her familiarity with the case.
This first charge of embezzlement was enhanced with the allegation that more than $100,000 was stolen. In the first case the victims were the Lopez brothers one of whom, Paige, said he lost his home as a result of Colasuonno’s actions. According to Buccat, the old case will move forward despite the new charges and she does not expect the two cases to be consolidated.
Buccat said she anticipated that the Lopez case to go to trial fairly soon, either by the end of this month or beginning of September.