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March 29, 2012

Woman Who Orchestrated $6 Million Embezzlement Scheme Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Prison

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SUSAN A. CURTIS, 50, of Naugatuck, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to 102 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for defrauding Webster Bank and Bank of America of more than $6.8 million and for failing to pay more than $1 million in federal income taxes.

"Over the course of more than seven years, this defendant abused her position of trust and stole millions from her employer to purchase extravagant personal luxuries, including first-class airfare, cruises, automobiles, artwork, and jewelry," stated U.S. Attorney Fein. "It was a brazen scheme, driven by greed, and this lengthy prison term is appropriate."

According to court documents and statements made in court, CURTIS was employed in the Property Services Division of Webster Bank with responsibilities that included negotiating and managing bank property leases where Webster Bank was a landlord or tenant. CURTIS and her then husband Kevin W. Caffrey established a company called New House LLC. Later, CURTIS and her current husband, Gary Stocking, Jr., established a company called Equity Realty LLC. CURTIS falsely represented to Webster Bank's Vendor Management Department that both companies were brokers and therefore exempt from due diligence and annual review.

Betweeen 2002 and 2007, CURTIS falsely represented to Webster Bank that New House and Equity Realty were due millions of dollars of fees for over one hundred real estate-related transactions, causing Webster Bank to make payments of approximately $5.04 million to New House and Equity Realty. CURTIS also caused persons doing business with Webster Bank to send approximately $723,620 in payments for tenant improvements and reimbursements, which were owed to Webster Bank, directly to CURTIS; certain of these checks were altered to make them payable to Webster Bank c/o Equity Realty and then were deposited into an Equity Realty account at another bank. CURTIS also caused a representative of Webster Bank to send a $450,000 payment, which was owed to Webster Bank, directly to CURTIS; the check was made payable to Equity Realty c/o Webster Bank and was subsequently deposited into the Equity Realty bank account. Finally, CURTIS fraudulently applied for, and received, a $649,000 mortgage loan from Bank of America for a property in East Hampton, Connecticut, misrepresenting and concealing the real source of her income and extent of her liabilities.

In addition to these fraud schemes, CURTIS filed false federal tax returns for the 2006 through 2009 tax years, during which she failed to report more than $3.79 million in embezzled funds.

On January 20, 2011, CURTIS pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns.

Today, in addition to sentencing CURTIS to 102 months of imprisonment, Judge Hall ordered CURTIS to pay restitution of $6,194,589.85 to Webster Bank and $617,228.66 to Bank of America. The amount CURTIS owes to Bank of America will be reduced after the East Hampton property is sold.

CURTIS also was ordered to pay to the Internal Revenue Service back taxes in the amount of $1,680,128.41.

As part of this case, the government is seeking the forfeiture of more than $1.1 million in property, vehicles, artwork, jewelry, and other items purchased by the defendants and a money judgment in the amount of $7,002,589.85. Forfeiture proceedings will be scheduled at a later date.

On October 14, 2010, Kevin Caffrey pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. He awaits sentencing.

On March 31, 2011, Gary Stocking, Jr. pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file a return, supply information, and pay federal income taxes. On September 22, 2011, he was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael S. McGarry and Paul A. Murphy.

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut

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