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Press Release

Bozeman woman sentenced to nine months for defrauding court-appointed clients

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

MISSOULA—Ellen Lorraine Van Ausdol, a Bozeman resident who ran a money management service for court-appointed clients, was sentenced today to nine months in prison and three years supervised release for stealing her clients’ funds and spending most of the money on gambling expenses, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, who presided, also ordered Van Ausdol, 78, to pay $186,452.99 in restitution, with $133,558.99 to the victims and $52,894 to the IRS.

“Ms. Van Ausdol’s actions were deplorable. Those who defraud and embezzle, and particularly those who exploit the vulnerable, can expect to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.

Van Ausdol pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud and to making and subscribing to a false tax return.

Van Ausdol operated a money management business called Fiduciary Consulting and Management, which provided services for court-appointed clients, the prosecution said in court records.  Many of the clients had mental deficiencies and lacked the ability to manage their own money.

Van Ausdol embezzled from her clients during a six-year period, from about 2010 to 2016, and told investigators she used the majority of the money to cover her gambling expenses. The investigation also found that Van Ausdol did not pay income taxes of $52,894.00 on the stolen money.

The prosecution said the embezzled funds totaled $253,528, bringing the total fraud loss to $306,422.  Van Ausdol repaid $119,950 to victims in 2016, leaving $94,558.99 owed to them in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.



Clair Johnson Howard
Public Information Officer

Updated August 16, 2019

Financial Fraud