Society

Medic Allegedly Stole Dying James Gandolfini's Watch

| by Sheena Vasani
James GandolfiniJames Gandolfini

As Sopranos star James Gandolfini lay dying from a heart attack in Italy, a paramedic reportedly stole the man's $3,000 Rolex watch.

New Jersey-based James Gandolfini, 51, eventually died, but his family has since tried to take 43-year-old paramedic Claudio Bevilacqua to court over the accusations, the Daily Mail reports.

Yet Bevilacqua did not attend the start of the trial, which has been postponed until November.

Gandolfini, famous for playing the role of mob boss Tony Soprano, had been vacationing in Rome with his wife Deborah Lin and 13-year-old son Michael. They had spent the day sightseeing and were preparing to attend a film festival later before the tragedy occurred.

Gandolfini reportedly collapsed while having a heart attack in his suite's bathroom at the Boscolo Luxury Hotel Exedra. His young son found his father on the floor.

Only twenty minutes after arriving at a local hospital, Gandolfini was pronounced dead.

While the man was worth $70 million, a good chunk of his money went to taxes. Approximately $30 million -- nearly half -- of the money was handed over to the U.S. government, the New York Daily News reports.

"It's a nightmare from a tax standpoint," said William Zabel, who reviewed some of his documents.

The actor left 80 percent of his estate to various family members, which came at an unexpectedly hefty price: the death tax of about 55 percent.

"The government doesn't accept the fact that it's difficult to come up with the money you owe," said the lawyer, who's represented celebrities like billionaire George Soros. "They can get an extension of time to pay the entire amount, but they're going to have [to] pay a substantial amount in nine months."

Yet this is not the first time a paramedic has captured national attention for theft.

In April 2016,  New Mexico paramedic Michael John Harcharik reportedly stole a debit card and spent $11,000 out of the pocket of a man who later died, the New York Post reports.

“He was just having the time of his life, it looked like,” the deceased man's daughter, Rebecca Pearson, said of Harcharik. “He took over half of what was in there, and he would’ve taken it all, obviously, had they not frozen the account on Friday morning.”

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Daily NewsNew York Post / Photo credit: Daniel Tanner/WENN.com via Daily Mail

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