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Gambling habit led San Diego probate trustee to steal from clients

An out-of-control gambling habit spurred a San Diego probate court trustee and licensed private fiduciary to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients, many of them aged or disabled, according to the U.S. attorney.

In pleading guilty Friday to wire fraud and money-laundering, Teresa Laggner admitting spending 165 days in 2010 at the Barona Casino in Lakeside, outside San Diego.

"Unfortunately for herself and her clients, Laggner admitted sustaining gambling losses in excess of $1 million," according to U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.

Laggner, 56, will be sentenced May 16 in San Diego federal court. Mail fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, money laundering carries a maximum of 10 years. Laggner has also been ordered to pay restitution.

Laggner worked for private trusts and the probate court from 2006 to 2010. She transferred money from her clients' accounts to her own and then withdrew money by cashing checks and using the automated teller machines at the Barona Casino and casinos in Nevada, according to court documents.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

 
Comments () | Archives (11)

I hope like HELL she it sentenced to ALL 30 years!!!!

I think there is a great percentage of people who rob from the ones they are responsible for caring for and helping. I know in the matter of my family when my mother and stepfather were being taken care of in their home in Vegas over a period of 6 months those who took care of them stole coin collections and a Hummel collection, that we know of. I think it's awful. This person should pay for what they did. I would'nt trust anyone anymore to ever take care of a family member or for me if it ever came down to it.

@Lee,

Exactly. When it was time for my elderly parents to move into an independent living facility, one family member was opposed and wanted the folks to hire in-home health care. It was a matter of trust as my parents had a lot to lose if they were victims of theft by the in-home care. And, no matter how much a home health care worker is bonded, they can still steal.

In the end, the one parent and family member who wanted the folks to stay in the house lost out on the "debate". For the better.

What I don't get where is the oversight on those who are serving as the appointed Trustee. I cannot believe that there is no specific regulations governing those appointed or elected to be the 'guardians' of person's estates or finances. Not only was the Trustee guilty of these criminal actions, those in positions higher than hers should be held as accountable for NOT finding any irregularities...especially since these crimminal acts occured over a four or more year period. I cannot believe this was not found sooner! Hope she the maximum sentence is given....although she'll be out in ten years with good behaviour. Her Supervisors should be given the same sentence.

One caregiver who was caught and asked why she did what she did said she felt the pay she received wasn't worth the bed pan emptying, hair combing, cooking and putting up with the old persons whims. So she supplimented her pay figuring the people she took care of would not miss what she took or would die sooner or later and no one would know. Also, driving them to doctor appointments. Picking up pills, etc. stc. was such a inconvienience. She felt her worth was more then what she was paid.......ahemmmmmm $100 per hour and usually based in a 9 to 12 hour day @ 4 TO 5 DAYS A WEEK plus meals. You do the calculations and then tell me how disgusted you feel.

I guess my last post got lost in cyberspace. These caregivers make good money.....$100 an hour if they dispense meds or IV's. They empty bed pans and comb hair and even wash those who they supervise. Change bandages and other things. Doctor appointment driving and food making. They usually work 9 to 12 hours a day x 4 or 5 days a week. You do the calculations.
One caregiver that was caught did what she did because the booty was there for the taking and figured the customer wouldn't miss it or would die before it was noticed it was missing. Many times the big heists are done when there is no heir. I liked the setup the police did with one caregiver over a period of months putting valuables in the home and setting up a senerio where the woman who was being taken care of (an actress) had alzheimers and slowly but surely the valuables made their way into the possession of the caregiver.

She won't be able to pay any of the money back. She should be sentenced to a longer sentence then 30 years.

Only fools use those ATMs at casinos. You need to bring cash with you or use a marker.

She did not have a supervisor. She worked for herself, in every sense of the word.

We have tried to contact Teresa Laggner for over 1 1/2 years regarding a trust that she was working on only to get a run around from her attorney and no call back from her. The trust she worked on for us has not been settled and has over 20 trustees throughout the states.. She had mentioned that they had wondered how Melissa King had fed her horses, I wonder if it was with our money as by reading up on her I noticed that Melissa had spent several thousand dollars on jewelery in southern califorina. That makes you think they may have been tied together. Anyway I want my money from my aunts trust. Can you find it?

If the truth were known, no one in their right mind would allow a fiduciary to manage their estate. The “system” allows for gross mismanagement, layers of attorneys and consultants, and if there is nothing left for the beneficiaries it is an acceptable outcome. Outright theft, triggered by an IRS audit return is the ONLY reason she was caught. The fiduciary expert witnesses and the attorneys she partnered with have not been scrutinized, so this case is a fraction of the estates at risk.


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