Woman sentenced for swindling $285K from nuns

Linda Rose Gagnon, 59, will serve 37 months in federal prison

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California woman was sentenced to over three years in federal prison for defrauding a group of Roman Catholic Sisters out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Irvine resident Linda Rose Gagnon, 59, promised to use $285,000 to purchase a retirement home for the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, an order of nuns devoted to educational and charitable work, according to evidence presented at her trial.

She was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud in November.

Gagnon used the funds to pay for her own personal expenses and to fund the unprofitable operations of her real estate finance company. Officials said she spent the entire $285,000 in just 64 days.

She spent the money on travel expenses, lingerie, groceries, manicures, hair dressing, restaurants, lease payments for an Audi TT, and valet pet-sitting services for her dog, according to a statement from Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Keenan.

On Friday, she was ordered to begin her prison term by June, 13, and pay full restitution to the nuns, which may include additional funds beyond the $285,000.

The Religious of Jesus and Mary is an international community with sisters in 28 countries in several regions of the world including Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, North Africa, North America and South America, according to its website.

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