Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jury convicts woman on 1 larceny count for bilking elderly aunt, deadlocks on 9 other charges

By:Lee Sawyer, Journal Inquirer

An Ellington woman has been found guilty of a single count of second-degree larceny for withdrawing $3,307 from an elderly aunt's account in the weeks before the aunt's death in 2002.

In early 2002 LaVigne had taken Matlis, then 87 and a wealthy childless widow, from her New Hampshire home to live with her in Connecticut in early 2002. Shortly thereafter, huge sums of money changed hands from Matlis to LaVigne, alarming some of Matlis' other relatives and friends, who claimed she was suffering dementia and was unaware of the transactions.State investigators began to probe the matter and built their case against LaVigne after Matlis' death in November 2002.

LaVigne, before the verdict was announced, said she would be relieved to get the matter behind her. She that although she'd remained optimistic, the trial had burdened her family."They say 'Mom, this belongs in civil court, not criminal,'" she said. "They say 'Auntie Pat gave us money, too, does that mean we'll go to jail?"'

She accused him of having a vendetta against her based on jealousy."He thinks the money she gave me belonged to him," she said.When reached later by phone at his home in Virginia, Loulakis said the jury's guilty verdict, even if it was just on one felony larceny count, was a victory for himself, his family, and Matlis."We think the state did a great job, and the jury got it," he said. Of LaVigne, he said, "She was a financial predator who took advantage of my aunt.

"Ten years would be too little for what she did to our family, and what she did to my aunt," Loulakis said.

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