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Husband/Wife Smith Barney Advisers Charged With Helping Themselves To Funds Of 81 Year-Old Greenwich Client Who Suffers From Alzheimer's

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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]


Repentant British Banks Forcing Clients To Transport Themselves To Olympics, Stay In What Is Basically The Equivalent Of Motel 6, Drink Olde English

Time was, working on Wall Street meant going to great lengths to lavishly entertain clients whose business you wanted to win or keep. Client wanted to party on a yacht with forty Brazilian hookers? You made it happen. Client wanted Jay-Z to perform at his son's Bar Mitzvah? You were on it. Client wanted you to manipulate Libor while simultaneously hand feeding him grapes? All you wanted to know was red or green. Whatever they wanted you delivered and then some and the best part was nobody said anything about it. Nobody  judged, nobody protested, nobody wondered if flying to Hyōgo Prefecture to personally slaughter a cow and bring it back with you in business class so the client's dinner would be fresh was the best use of company money.  Then you nearly take down the global financial system and have to be bailed out by the government and all of a sudden it's like people think they have the right to count your (or in the case of banks still partially owned by the UK, their) money. So you scale back the big outings. You make less of a spectacle. Should be enough to get 'em off your backs, only it's never enough for these people. They're not happy until you're taking clients to Applebee's and suggesting getting one appetizer and splitting an entrée, or inviting them to major international sporting events and then denying them black car service, putting them up in relative dumps, and making them drink malt liquor. Which is more or less what one bank is doing. The games are typically one of the biggest corporate schmoozefests on the calendar, with official sponsors and interlopers alike flashing the cash for the best tickets, best party venues and best celebrity guests. Many banks and other companies spent mightily four years ago in Beijing to show their clients a good time and increase their profile in China. This time around, banks are under pressure to cut costs and avoid displays of wealth that will further inflame an already angry public. What is more, the U.K.'s influence in the world isn't what it used to be, and its economy, mired in recession, doesn't exactly have the growth prospects of China's. And antibanking sentiment here is still off the charts after several years of global financial turmoil. Lloyds is arguably in the trickiest position by virtue of its Olympic sponsorship. The [sponsorship] deal was struck in the heady window between the day London was awarded the games in 2005 and when the global financial crisis kicked into gear—and kicked Lloyds into trouble and, eventually, partial state ownership. One of the main points of such deals is the ability to strut with clients around the Olympic Park—something the bank is largely keeping in check. For one thing, Lloyds didn't buy all of the several thousand tickets allocated to it in the original agreement. And being invited to the games by Lloyds isn't exactly a luxe affair. The bank said "the majority of our guests will travel to and from Olympic venues on public transport." Lloyds also says it won't offer guests transfers to and from airports, and will in some cases put them up at three- or four-star hotels—a contrast to the five-star accommodations frequently used in bank hospitality events. Lloyds has also put the kibosh on Champagne. Happy now? Hold the Bubbly: London Financiers Keep Low Profile at Olympics [WSJ]