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Westport Woman Admits Taking $1.3M From Charities

WESTPORT, Conn. – A 54-year-old Westport woman faces up to 30 years in prison after she pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $1.3 million from three charities, David B. Fein, the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, announced.

Soozi Folsom, who was the financial manager of a Westport-based accounting firm that was hired by three charitable foundations, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of bank fraud stemming from the embezzlement, Fein said in a news release.

Folsom is accused of writing 124 fraudulent checks from the foundations’ accounts between September 2008 and November 2011. The checks were made payable to “Groundhog LLC,” an entity Folsom controlled, Fein said.

Folsom allegedly forged the signature of someone who had signatory authority on the foundations’ bank accounts and then converted the money for her own personal use, Fein said. She covered up the fraud by manipulating transactions in the foundations’ accounting and bookkeeping records, Fein said.

In all, Folsom admitted to stealing $1,385,159.82 from the foundations’ bank accounts, Fein said. After being informed of the federal investigation, she allegedly transferred approximately $62,000 out of the country, Fein said.

She is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 7. In addition to a maximum of 30 years in prison, Folsom also faces a fine of up to $2.7 million. Folsom was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service after Monday’s court appearance, Fein said.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Westport Police Department.

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