Fiduciary Gets 18 Months for Filching Funds

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A licensed fiduciary on Monday was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $417,000 in restitution for defrauding trust beneficiaries and gambling away the money at casinos.
     Teresa Laggner pleaded guilty in February to wire fraud and money laundering. She was taken to jail after the sentencing hearing on Monday.
     Laggner, 56, admitted that she looted trust accounts from 2006 through January this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in announcing her sentence.
     “Laggner admitted that between July and September 2010, she misappropriated approximately $191,500 from a single trust bank account,” prosecutors said in a statement. “During this same period, Laggner withdrew $40,000 of misappropriated trust funds while at casinos in San Diego and Nevada and cashed checks for an additional $100,000 while at Barona Casino and used all of these funds to feed her gambling habit. The court determined Laggner’s actions resulted in over $470,000 of total loss to the trusts previously under her control.
     Laggner also must provide an accounting on all the trusts she handled, and has been barred from acting as a professional fiduciary in California.
     For some people, gambling is believed to stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain as are stimulated by drugs such as cocaine.

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