A former who bought a waterfront home in East Hampton several years ago, was sentenced Thursday to 102 months in federal prison for embezzling $6.2 million.
, 50, of Naugatuck, will then have to serve five years of supervised release once she gets out of prison after that eight-and-a-half year sentence, said Thomas Carson, spokesman for the federal court.
Curtis, a short woman dressed in a blue jump suit, gave a tearful apology for her actions before Judge Janet Hall in U.S. District court in Bridgeport.
"I lied, cheated, stole and lived a life totally devoid of any redeemable quality," Curtis said.
She said she felt regret, shame and remorse for stealing the money from her former employer as well as using the stolen funds to apply for a mortgage in
She also said, "I cannot offer any excuse for my actions, which I find reprehensible."
Federal officials said Curtis , and used the stolen cash to obtain a mortgage from Bank of America. She also failed to pay several thousands of dollars to the government, federal officials said.
Federal prosecutors say Curtis and her husband, used the stolen money to fund a lavish lifestyle, which included buying a $1 million waterfront home at 5 Day Point Road here in East Hampton, a $60,000 tournament waterski boat, luxury cars and jewelry. The home is now delapidated and being foreclosed on by Bank of America after Curtis and Stocking began an expensive renovation of it and then walked away from the property.
Curtis, who worked as vice president in Webster Bank’s real estate division, funneled the money into fake LLCs that she created along with two separate husbands. The first, Kevin Caffrey, has since pleaded guilty to bank fraud while the second husband, , .
“This is probably one of the most serious financial crimes in years, in terms of loss, gluttony and greed,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McGarry.
Federal officials said she used the stolen cash to pay for highlife luxuries including a BMW, an Audi S4, two motorcycles, a boat, a cruise, a trip to England and jewelry, among other items.
“It won’t ever be forgotten and, in many cases, cannot be forgiven,” she said. “I want to apologize to the bank, to the court, to my family, and friends… I come before you fully prepared to accept the consequences of my actions.”
Questions remained toward the end of the case on whether it was Curtis, or Cafferty, who acted as the instigator in the scheme. But Hall said that the “leadership” in the embezzlement scheme wasn’t a “big part” of the case.
“Who had the very first idea in his scheme is really not important,” Hall said. “The fact is that this could never have been done without Mrs. Curtis' role at the bank.”
Hall said Curtis embezzled repeatedly — some 108 times — over the course of the seven-year scam.
Curtis’ defense attorney, M. Hatcher Norris, put forward an argument that his defendant’s depressed past — her mother was virtually non-existent and she raised her two sisters from the age of 10 onward — should be considered during the sentencing.
Norris said Curtis has never used her past as an excuse for her actions, but despite this he still noted that her childhood was “something out of a horror movie” with regard to the abuse and neglect she went through.
Apart from this, Norris vouched for Curtis’ caring and civic-minded adult life. She was involved in the Lions Club, Elks Club and Special Olympics’ in Naugatuck, and acted as a den leader for the Cub Scouts. She also has two sons who served in Iraq.
“It’s hard for me to balance that out,” Norris said. “How this person, who is a great mother and contributing to her community… how did she get involved in this?”
Norris argued in a few areas with the objective of reducing Curtis’ jail time. In one of those areas, Curtis had told a court-appointed psychologist during a pre-sentencing investigation that she had information on an alleged inappropriate relationship between an inmate and a guard in the Rhode Island penitentiary, where Curtis is incarcerated.
“As far as I believe, she is a witness in a very serious case,” Norris said.
U.S. Attorney Michael McGarry, the prosecutor in the Curtis case, told Hall that the guard has since been put on administrative leave and there is a Department of Justice investigation into the claims.
Despite this, Hall said she didn’t believe Curtis’ statements regarding the guard could lead to a lesser prison sentence.
“I think it’s a serious matter and deserves investigation and prosecution,” Hall said. “But I don’t think her cooperation is extraordinary.”
Curtis has been incarcerated for 11 months now, and U.S. attorneys prosecuting the case said she will be credited for that jail time toward her 102 month sentence.