PORTLAND, Ore. -- A man exposed as a military impostor in a KGW investigation is facing new, more serious charges.
Michele Bocci appeared in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning. The 35-year old is charged with three felony counts of aggravated theft in the first degree. If convicted, Bocci could face up to two years in prison.
“Frankly, he’s a smart individual who is using his ability to scam people and take advantage of them for profit,” said Stacy Heyworth, a Senior Deputy District Attorney during the court hearing.
The new charges stem from a Portland Police investigation in June 2017. Investigators say Bocci tricked a Portland woman into giving him $23,000. Bocci claimed he needed the money to pay for medical expenses for his daughter who was fighting leukemia. According to prosecutors, Bocci said he’d pay the woman back with a $1 million life insurance settlement he expected to receive because his wife had died.
The story wasn’t true, explained investigators.
Bocci admitted to detectives he used the $23,000 for food and hotels, said prosecutors.
Additionally, investigators said Bocci earned the trust of his victim by falsely claiming to be a doctor. He even wore medical scrubs.
“He is an impostor,” warned Heyworth. “He will use anything to get money.”
Bocci pleaded not guilty to the new charges in Multnomah County.
In September, Bocci was sentenced to six months in jail for criminal impersonation and theft in Washington County.
The misdemeanor charges stem from an August 2, 2016 incident. Bocci, who claimed to be a decorated U.S. Marine, said his bomb sniffing dog had been hit and killed by a car.
After hearing his heartbreaking story, a local funeral home offered to help. Springer and Sons funeral home in Aloha provided free cremation for the dog, along with a specially designed urn which included a military emblem and custom engraving. An invoice shows the value as $310.
Government records show, Michele Bocci never served in the U.S. military.
Over the past year, a series of investigative reports by KGW found community groups, churches, police agencies and various individuals had been duped by Bocci. They provided money, food or other types of assistance after hearing his tragic story. Bocci falsely told people he was combat veteran left to care for his two young children after his wife died.
Investigators encourage anyone who may have been victimized by Michele Bocci to contact Portland Police Detective Liz Cruthers at 503-823-0272.