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TEN DEFENDANTS INDICTED IN ‘NIGERIAN 419 SCAM’ THAT FALSELY PROMISED INHERITANCE MONEY TO VICTIMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011

SANTA ANA, California – A Tustin woman surrendered this morning to FBI agents after being indicted last week on wire fraud charges alleging she defrauded a group of nuns out of more than a quarter million dollars.

Linda Rose Gagnon, 57, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon on three counts of wire fraud in United States District Court.

A federal grand jury indicted Gagnon last Wednesday in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, Inc., a congregation of Roman Catholic Sisters. The indictment alleges that the fraud took place after Gagnon visited a Rhode Island convent where some of the RJM sisters reside.

Gagnon operated the Tustin-based Rose Enterprises, Inc., a company that she claimed assisted clients with delinquent mortgages and other real estate transactions. After learning that RJM was interested in purchasing a property in San Diego, Gagnon offered to assist in the transaction. Armed with a bogus letter that appeared to be from a California attorney, Gagnon convinced the nuns to wire $285,000 from their retirement account to be used in the purchase of the property.

Instead of using the money to purchase the property for the nuns, the indictment alleges that Gagnon stole the money and used the money to pay for personal expenses, including pet sitting, lingerie, car payments and purchases at retail outlets.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

If she is convicted of the three wire fraud counts in the indictment, Gagnon would face a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Release No. 11-029

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