McKeesport woman accused of pilfering dead woman's estate
A McKeesport woman forged documents to take control of her dying neighbor's estate, bank account and end-of-life decisions, according to an Allegheny County grand jury presentment filed Friday.
Mary Mechelli, 54, faces charges of theft, forgery, providing unsworn falsification to authorities, tampering with public records or information and insurance fraud. McKeesport police arrested her Thursday night.
Mechelli was arraigned and released on her own recognizance to await a preliminary hearing scheduled Aug. 13.
According to the presentment:
Margaret Dorn was being treated at UPMC McKeesport in March 2010 after falling down stairs. While in the hospital, Dorn signed over power of attorney to Mechelli on March 26.
A nurse who cared for Dorn testified to the grand jury that Dorn was confused “consistently from March 24 to March 29, 2010,” making it impossible for her to legally consent to signing the documents.
Dorn was moved to Select Specialty Hospital on March 30, 2010, and Mechelli signed a “do not resuscitate” order on April 30. Dorn died of sepsis the next day. She was 79.
Two months later, Mechelli rented out Dorn's home at 1311 Scott St. in McKeesport for $475 a month, but the tenant found Dorn's checkbook and clothing in drawers. Suspicious, the tenant contacted Dorn's niece, who didn't know her aunt died.
The tenant confronted Mechelli about the home's ownership, and she presented him with a letter prepared by attorney Michael Carr, a partner at Gregg Creehan & Gerace, dated Feb. 6, 2012, stating she owned the property.
Two weeks later, Mechelli evicted the man, who contacted authorities.
Dorn's living will was witnessed by Carr and Christopher Zwilcher, who worked in the law firm's mail room.
Mike Manko, a spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. would not say whether Carr is under investigation. Carr did not return phone calls.
Investigators said Mechelli wrote 19 checks from Dorn's bank account totaling $3,762 and got $1,764 from a $10,000 life insurance policy.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers should corner the market at NFL Draft
- Riots in Baltimore raise questions about police response
- Consol Energy profits dip with low gas prices
- Steelers receiver Brown attends workouts despite previous comments
- Former Tennessee DE Hendrix announces transfer to Pitt
- Most talent in NFL Draft play at Steelers’ positions of need
- Man found dead in Lower Burrell
- Arnold, New Kensington drug busts net 2 arrests, heroin, cocaine, cash
- Penguins’ Pouliot learns from rookie season
- Experts high on Pitt tackle Clemmings entering NFL Draft
- Hammel, Cubs shut down Pirates, snapping 5-game winning streak