Abductors in productions and in real life are often poverty-stricken criminals looking for quick and easy ransom money. Affluent people rarely engage in abductions; they are primarily associated with corruption, money laundering, insider trading, and the like – financial crimes that don’t involve violence.
However, the Greco family in Netflix’s The Secrets of the Greco Family is an outlier – a wealthy family dealing in kidnappings. The synopsis reads:
“A seemingly perfect family secretly kidnaps wealthy people for ransom in order to maintain their high standard of living and social status. Based on a true story.”
The Greco family is based on the Puccio family, which abducted wealthy people in Argentina in the 1980s
The 70s and early 80s were turbulent times in Argentina. The ruling military regime treated even the slightest dissent as treason, abducting and killing anyone it considered opposition. It’s estimated that the government murdered around 9,000 and 30,000 people in ten years.
The Puccio family were believed to be agents of the oppressive government, participating in the rampant killings and kidnappings. When the dictatorship collapsed in 1983, the Puccio family lost its connection to state wealth.
Rather than look for legitimate ways to maintain the family’s wealthy status, Arquimedes Puccio, the family matriarch, resorted to ransom kidnappings to keep the money flowing.
The family consisted of Puccio, his wife Epifania Calvo, and their five children – Alejandro, Silvia, Daniel, Guillermo, and Adriana Puccio. They lived in San Isidro, a wealthy suburb of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.
The kidnapping team consisted of Arquimedes, Alejandro, Daniel, and three accomplices: Roberto Diaz, Guillermo Laborda, and Rodolfo Franco.
Ricardo Manoukian was the first victim. Manoukian met Puccio through mutual friends, and the pair often played football and tennis together. Manoukian’s family paid $250,000 as ransom; nevertheless, the Puccio family killed him.
Eduardo Aulet met the same fate. His family paid a ransom of $150,000 before the kidnappers killed and buried him. Emilio Naum, the third victim, died as he resisted abduction.
The police arrested the criminals after they abducted Nelida Bollini de Prado. Authorities set a trap to apprehend the criminals as they attempted to collect the ransom. After a month in captivity, Bollini de Prado was set free by the police.
De Prado was the only Puccio family victim who survived.
Nearly all Puccio family members are dead
Alejandro, Puccio’s son, had no intention of going to prison: he jumped from the fifth floor of the courthouse. He survived but sustained severe injuries.
The criminals were convicted: Arquimedes and Alejandro received life sentences, and Daniel received a lighter sentence. Guillermo fled the country long before the family’s arrest, possibly escaping justice. The investigation cleared Epifania, Silvia, and Adriana of any involvement in the crimes.
After Daniel’s release, he disappeared before resurfacing in Brazil in September 2019. Daniel was arrested for carrying falsified identification documents following a routine drug route bus inspection.
Guillermo’s whereabouts after fleeing Argentina in the early 80s remain unknown. If he ever reemerges, he won’t face a trial for the family’s crimes thanks to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Alejandro was paroled in 2007 and died in 2008 of pneumonia. In 2011, Silvia, an art teacher, died of cancer. Arquimedes insisted he was innocent until he died of a stroke in 2013.
Epifania and Adriana, the surviving members of the Puccio family, reportedly live in the residence that housed the family’s victims.