Former Resident of Orange Convicted in Scheme to Defraud Religious Order of Roman Catholic Sisters
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 12, 2013|
SANTA ANA, CA—Linda Rose Gagnon, also known as Linda Gualtieri-Gagnon, age 59, a former resident of Orange, California, was convicted today by a jury on three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. Ms. Gagnon’s trial occurred before the Honorable Andrew J. Guilford in the Ronald Reagan Courthouse of the Central District of California.
The jury found that Ms. Gagnon executed a scheme to defraud the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary (RJM), an order of Roman Catholic Sisters devoted to educational and charitable work, of $285,000, which the RJM had set aside for the care of elderly and infirm Sisters. According to the evidence, Gagnon represented that she was an expert in handling short sale and foreclosure transactions and offered to assist RJM buy a small home in San Diego for use by retired and infirm Sisters.
The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that, contrary to her promises, Gagnon did not use the RJM’s funds to purchase the retirement home for the Sisters. Instead, Gagnon used the funds to pay for her personal expenses and to fund the unprofitable operations of her real estate finance company, Rose Enterprise Inc. After only 64 days, Gagnon spent the entire sum of the RJM’s $285,000. The evidence showed that Gagnon used the RJM’s funds for Gagnon’s personal expenses, including travel, lingerie, groceries, manicures, hair dressing, restaurants, lease payments for an Audi TT sports car, and valet pet-sitting services for her dog. The RJM funds were also used to pay salaries, office rent, and supplies for Rose Enterprise Inc.
After stringing out RJM for months and not disclosing her fraudulent misappropriation of RJM’s funds, Gagnon asked RJM for another $285,000 to buy the San Diego residence, falsely representing that she needed the additional funds because RJM’s original $285,000 was tied up in a “triple escrow” on another property.
Ms. Gagnon’s sentencing date is scheduled for February 24, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. The maximum penalty for Ms. Gagnon is 60 years in prison, 20 years for each count charged.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.