Monday, March 7, 2011

DA: Woman Defrauds Nuns out of $285,000, Uses Money for Lingerie, Pet Sitters

DA: Woman Defrauds Nuns out of $285,000, Uses Money for Lingerie, Pet Sitters

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A Tustin woman is accused of defrauding a group of nuns out of more than a quarter million dollars.

Linda Rose Gagnon, 57, is facing three counts of wire fraud in United States District Court.

Prosecutors say Gagnon defrauded members of the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, Inc., a congregation of Roman Catholic Sisters.

The indictment alleges that the fraud took place after Gagnon visited a Rhode Island convent where some of the RJM sisters reside.

Gagnon operated the Tustin-based Rose Enterprises, Inc., a company that she claimed assisted clients with delinquent mortgages and other real estate transactions.

After learning that RJM was interested in purchasing a property in San Diego, Gagnon offered to assist in the transaction.

Armed with a bogus letter that appeared to be from a California attorney, Gagnon convinced the nuns to wire $285,000 from their retirement account to be used in the purchase of the property.

Instead of using the money to purchase the property for the nuns, the indictment alleges that Gagnon stole the money and used the money to pay for personal expenses, including pet sitting, lingerie, car payments and purchases at retail outlets.

If convicted on all counts, Gagnon faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison.

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