PORTLAND, Ore. — A man exposed as a military impostor in a KGW investigation is facing new, unrelated charges for allegedly stealing $59,900 from a Washington couple in their 80s.
Michele Bocci is currently being held in the Columbia County Jail, while awaiting extradition to Clark County, Washington.
Bocci, 36, is charged with theft, tampering with a witness and criminal impersonation. Court records indicate Bocci swindled thousands of dollars from the senior couple by telling a heart-wrenching story about how he was from a military family and homeless. Bocci claimed he’d been in a coma for nearly three months after being stabbed, shot and beaten while trying to protect a woman who was being attacked. Bocci also said he had a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford and Master’s degree from the University of Washington.
None of it was true, according to police. It was all a lie.
“Maybe we will get justice, not just for my parents, but for all the other people he has harmed and stolen from,” said Christa Grant of Battle Ground. Grant alerted police after she searched Bocci’s name online and found a 2017 KGW investigation into the military impostor.
“He was well-spoken, very put together, very anxious to talk about his story,” said Grant.
Bocci met Grant’s father at a Starbucks in the Vancouver Mall in November 2018. Over the next few months, police say Bocci ingratiated himself with the 83-year-old victim and his 80-year-old wife. Bocci spoke with the couple by phone, visited their Vancouver home and joined them for church service.
Bocci claimed he needed money for medical treatment, a car and a condo. Court records indicate the couple provided Bocci multiple payments from their personal savings and retirement accounts totaling $59,900. Bocci used the money for two cars, clothing, jewelry, dining, cellphones, tattoos, concert tickets and tools, according to court records.
“In the course of 20 days Michele spent over $30,000 for his own personal benefit,” read the arresting officer’s declaration of probable cause document.
In 2017, KGW first exposed Michele Bocci as military impostor.
Bocci claimed he was a combat veteran; a U.S. Marine who was left to care for his two young children after his wife died in childbirth. KGW found more than two dozen people, including members of community groups, churches and police agencies, who reached out to help Bocci. They provided money, food or other types of assistance.
The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Bocci never served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Bocci was convicted in Multnomah and Washington counties for various charges, including criminal impersonation and theft.