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Orange County woman jailed for stealing nuns’ retirement money

Image courtesy of the Religious of Jesus and MaryAn Irvine, California woman was sentenced Friday to 37 months in federal prison for defrauding a group of Roman Catholic Sisters out of $285,000, which she spent on herself  after promising to use the money to help the nuns buy a retirement home.

Linda Rose Gagnon, 59, was sentenced by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford, who presided over Gagnon’s trial last year, the DOJ said.

Gagnon was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud in November for defrauding the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus & Mary (RJM), an order of nuns devoted to educational and charitable work.

The evidence at trial showed that Gagnon promised to use RJM funds to purchase a retirement home for the Sisters. Instead, she used the money for her personal expenses and an unprofitable real estate finance company — burning through the entire $285,000 in only 64 days.

Gagnon spent most of the nuns’ money on travel, lingerie, groceries, manicures, hair dressing, restaurants, lease payments for an Audi TT sports car, and valet pet-sitting services for her dog.

She was ordered to begin serving her prison term by June 13.

Judge Guilford also ordered Gagnon to pay full restitution to the victim nuns — including at least the $285,000 plus other damages.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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2 Comments

  1. I really enjoy the FCPA-related content on this site. But what in the world does this have to do with the FCPA. It seems that over time this blog has become much more of a general anti-corruption content based site, which is probably good for some, but I would much rather the content stay focused on the FCPA

  2. This is not the first time nor is it going to be last time. Non-profits particularly religious institutions of all denominations are prone to these kind of embezzlement activities. Where there are no basic internal controls, let’s say checks and balances, these kinds of activities thrive to their fullest extent. It is well known TRUST plays vital role which is nothing but a psychological factor and a frame of mind. Non-profits must wake up and spend time, money (even if they don’t have it – which I do not believe) and above all effort in supervising who does what, when and how. These are basic and fundamental questions


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