BRISTOL – Jodi Zils Gagne, attorney and former Bristol councilor, did not have to surrender herself Monday to begin serving a 46-month prison sentence, as a judge has granted her an extension until later this month.
Gagne, 43, was handed down her sentence in federal court in April, and was originally expected to begin serving her sentence of nearly four years on Monday.
A motion filed by Gagne’s attorney to extend her surrender date to July 22 has been granted by a judge, a Department of Justice spokesman said Monday. According to the motion, Gagne wished to attend a graduation party for two family members and watch her daughter compete in the Nutmeg State Games. Both events are scheduled to take place later this month.
Gagne, a Bristol attorney whose law license was suspended in September, waived her right to be indicted in October and pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.
She has admitted to defrauding six people out of about $169,000, officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In all of the cases, officials continued, she was a court-appointed conservator over the victims, and the money that was misappropriated should have been used for things like medical care, housing, bills, personal expenses and legitimate conservator fees. The scheme began sometime around May 2015 and lasted several years.
The victims were elderly or suffered a disability, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
In one instance, relatives of one of the victims said at Gagne’s sentencing in April, Gagne allowed a man’s life insurance policy to lapse, telling him he could no longer afford it. The man, who suffered from MS, had watched his father battle the same disease and wanted to provide his children some financial security. Gagne disputed this claim at her sentencing.
In another instance, acting as conservator for an 89-year-old man, Gagne allowed a $110,000 loan from the man’s estate to fund the Bristol Beat radio station, which was primarily run by her husband before it signed off the air in November 2017. The payment schedule for the loan was slated to last 10 years, despite the ward being 89 years old at the time, making it so that he would never receive full benefit from the promissory note, according to court documents.
Additionally, Gagne arranged the sale of two victims’ homes to her relative for less than their appraised value, officials said. The buyer then renovated the homes, sold them for a “substantial profit” and paid Gagne and her husband kickbacks, according to federal officials.
Gagne’s 46-month sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release, and she will be required to pay $116,000 in restitution. She is free on $50,000 bond.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.