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OC woman arrested for bilking nuns of $285K

KABC-TV covers Los Angeles and Southern California.

March 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A Tustin woman was arrested Tuesday on charges of defrauding a company of nuns out of $285,000.

Linda Rose Gagnon, 57, surrendered to FBI agents Tuesday. Gagnon was indicted on wire fraud charges last week.

Gagnon is accused of scheming to defraud U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary Inc., an Rhode Island-based congregation of nuns. Gagnon allegedly made a visit to a R.I. convent where some of the nuns live.

Rose Enterprises, a company operated by Gagnon, claimed to help consumers with mortgage troubles and other real-estate-related transactions. Gagnon, through Rose Enterprises, offered to assist the nuns' group purchase property in San Diego.

Gagnon managed to get the nuns to wire $285,000 from a retirement account to Rose Enterprises with the help of a fraudulent letter purported to be from a California attorney.

Gagnon is accused of using the funds to pay for personal expenses, including in the indictment, lingerie, pet sitting, car payments and retail purchases.

Gagnon was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon on three counts of wire fraud in U.S. District Court.

If convicted on all three counts, Gagnon faces a maximum of 60 years in federal prison.