If you were a financial adviser hoping to make a name for yourself by ripping off clients, how would you do it? Clients get ripped off on the reg, so it'd have to be something particularly depraved, right? Right. The plan hatched by Paula Halloran, a New Canaan resident previously employed by Smith Barney, and her husband Michael Michelsen was pretty straight forward but it got the job done. Theirs was to steal money from an 81 year-old lady who perhaps would've caught on sooner, had she not had Alzheimer's and dementia.
According to police, the fraudulent activity began in 2005. Funds belonging to the victim were paid to charities, credit companies and other financial institutions, then transferred by Halloran and Michelsen for their own personal use, police said. From April 2006 to November 2008, approximately $765,213 was misappropriated and stolen from the victim, police said. However, the actual amount of money taken was more than $1 million; the statute of limitations only offers a five-year window, preventing roughly a quarter of the million to be included in the report since the activity took place in early 2005, police said.
Halloran became the victim's financial advisor sometime in 2004 but did not begin taking her money until 2005, the report stated. She was able to take advantage of the fact that the victim was not mentally stable and had her write checks for various reasons, including "charities" and "credit card companies." One such "charity" supposedly involved something for firefighters; Michelsen is a Wilton firefighter, however, that department was not mentioned by police.
Luckily the couple has a legitimate excuse, which is that they needed some cash to cover their "personal finances" which included building a beach house in Block Island.
New Canaan Couple Charged With Larceny [New Canaan News]