The Greenwich Police Dept and the FBI worked closely on an investigation that resulted in the sentencing of an attorney who was a court-appointed conservator.
The attorney, a woman from Bristol, will spend close to four years behind bars, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing $169,000+ from six individuals for whom she served as a court-appointed conservator.
Jodi Zils Gagne, a former city councilwoman in Bristol, was sentenced Wednesday by US District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford. The sentencing was announced by United States Attorney John H. Durham.
Ms. Zils Gagne has been suspended from practicing law.
A conservator is “a person appointed by the probate court to oversee the financial or personal affairs of an adult who is incapable of managing his or her finances or unable to care for himself or herself.”
Beginning in approximately May 2015, Zils Gagne defrauded several conserved individuals by misappropriating their money and overbilling them.
One elderly victim was defrauded of approximately $136,000 and Ms. Zils Gagne appropriated $113,000 of that money, making it appear to be an “investment.”
However, it was really a 10-year note that paid only a prime rate. The money was used to fund Zils Gagne’s husband’s start up company, an internet radio station.
The terms and details of this transaction were only disclosed after extended proceedings in the probate court, during which Ms Zils Gagne repeatedly lied, sometimes under oath, to the probate court.
In addition, the investigation revealed that Zils Gagne arranged the sale of two victims’ houses to her relative for less than their appraised value. The buyer then renovated the houses and sold them for a substantial profit, and paid Zils Gagne and her husband kickbacks.
“The money that Zils Gagne misappropriated was intended for the conserved persons’ medical care, housing, bills, personal expenses, and legitimate conservator fees,” Durham said in a release. “Zils Gagne also misrepresented, or failed to disclose, material facts about her conservatorship activities to the Bristol probate court and others.”
In October 2018 she pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. She was released on $50,000 bond, and must report to prison in July.