October 12, 2018

Bristol attorney, former councilwoman admits to defrauding clients

A Bristol attorney and former city council member has admitted to defrauding clients out of more than $169,400, with a portion used to finance her husband's startup radio station, prosecutors say.

Jodi Zils Gagne, 43, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford to one count of mail fraud related to stealing $169,402 from six clients, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Zils Gagne is free on $50,000 bond and faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced Jan. 23.

According to investigators, Zils Gagne was a court-appointed conservator for numerous individuals in the state who are not able to manage their finances or unable to care for themselves.

In May 2015, she began defrauding several clients by overbilling them and misappropriating their money, which was meant for medical care, housing, bills, personal expenses and other conservator fees.

Zils Gagne defrauded one client out of about $130,000. Most of that money was used to fund her husband's Bristol-based startup radio station.

Investigators said she made false statements about the transaction and only reported the fraudulent actions after extended proceedings in probate court.

A state superior court judge suspended Zils Gagne from the practice of law last month.

Zils Gagne, a Republican, was elected to Bristol's city council in 2015 and was voted out in Nov. 2017.

She also operated a law practice at 80 West St. in Bristol.

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