West Haven Woman involved in Scheme to Steal COVID-19 Relief Funds from the City Sentenced to Prison
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that VANESSA VENCE-SMALL, 50, of New Windsor, New York, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $1.1 million from a Darien auto dealership.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Vence-Small was the controller of Felix F. Callari, Inc., doing business as Continental BMW of Darien, an automobile dealership. From October 2014 to June 2017, Vence-Small made 65 unauthorized electronic fund transfers, totaling $904,659.29, from the dealership’s bank account to her personal American Express account. She also issued and signed 28 checks drawn on the dealership’s bank account, in the total amount of $207,777.78, to pay various third parties, including credit card companies, contractors who performed work at her residence, and a different dealership from which she purchased a car. She also incurred on company accounts an additional $31,452.08 in unauthorized credit card charges and reimbursements.
The investigation revealed Vence-Small’s personal expenses included first-class air travel and vacations to Australia, Hawaii, Mexico and Jamaica; payments to contractors to remodel and landscape her home, and the purchase of a $50,000 Ford Mustang.
Judge Meyer ordered Vence-Small to pay full restitution. She has made approximately $200,000 in restitution payments to date.
On February 22, 2018, Vence-Small pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Vence-Small, who is released on a $100,000 bond, was ordered to report to prison on February 4, 2019.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Darien Police Department and the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen.