Dealership Controller Embezzles $1.1 Million

Vanessa Vence-Small, of New Windsor, N.Y., pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced Nov. 28 in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., to 30 months in prison. Prosecutors alleged that Vence-Small enriched herself “by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.” In addition to prison, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer ordered Vence-Small to fully repay the dealership and its insurers. She has repaid about $200,000 so far.

She began embezzling 50 business days after being hired in August 2014 for the $150,000-a-year position, which included personal use of a luxury vehicle.

In its sentencing memo, the prosecution sought a 33- to 41-month prison term and said Vence-Small had a “history of financial improprieties with at least two prior employers,” both of which fired her. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said she wasn’t prosecuted in those cases. According to a court filing, one of the former employers is Friendly Honda of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

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