New Canaan couple charged with larceny in connection with fraud
Updated 2:33 pm, Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Paula L. Halloran, 39, and Michael Michelsen, 57, of 24 St. Johns Place, turned themselves in to New Canaan Police Headquarters Feb. 25 at 2:45 p.m. after being informed of warrants for their arrest in connection with fraud.
Halloran and Michelsen are married and reside in New Canaan. Halloran was employed by Smith Barney in New Canaan until November 2008 and she was a broker and financial advisor for the 81-year-old female victim from Greenwich suffering from cognitive medical issues including 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.
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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.
Police said that the couple was able to use all the funds to take care of their personal finances among other things that included building a private beach house on Block Island.
Halloran was subsequently fired from Smith Barney in November of 2008 "due to violations in company policy," police said. After she was fired, the victim's family looked into the finances and realized money was missing. They filed a civil suit against Halloran and her husband as well as against Smith Barney in 2008.
Halloran was charged with first-degree larceny and first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. She was released on a written promise to appear in Stamford Superior Court March 7.
Michelsen was charged with first-degree larceny and first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. He was released on a $25,000 bond and will also appear in Stamford Superior Court March 7.