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Local Accountant Convicted Of Mail Fraud
Updated July 24, 2017 6:38 AM
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(UNDATED) - A former Bloomington accountant and financial advisor, who served the Bedford and Bloomington area, was sentenced in Federal court to 33 months in federal prison Friday after authorities say he stole nearly $1.2 million dollars from a client.

59-year-old Michael Sallee of Bloomington was convicted on one count of mail fraud in U.S. Southern Indiana District Court. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ordered Sallee to pay full restitution. Currently, he has paid back $168,000.

According to the United States District Court of Southern District of Indiana, Sallee began managing financial affairs for the victim, a longtime family friend, in 1997 after the sale of her late husband's family business, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In December of 2003 he began diverting funds from the woman's bank and investment accounts to his own for personal use on nearly 100 separate occasions. Authorities say he used the some of the money to take trips to Disney World, Mackinac Island and Yellowstone National Park. He continued to divert funds until August 2013.

The FBI says Sallee stole $1,193,781 from a total of 98 payments.

Sallee claimed he was the victim's power of attorney and was authorized to sign the victim's checks drawn on a bank account.

"At no time ... did Sallee inform (the victim) that he was making payments to himself from her account," the documents state. "Rather, during this time, (the victim) communicated regularly with Sallee, and Sallee repeatedly assured her that her money was safe and available if she needed it."

In October 2010, Sallee presented the victim's daughter a financial statement that showed her account having $130,000 more than it actually contained. In August 2013, the daughter again requested a statement, and that statement showed the woman's account had $64,000 more than it actually had in it.

The FBI investigation concluded the financial statements provided to the family were false.

"We expect integrity from accountants and financial professionals," said U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler in the press release. "We entrust them with our money. We talk with them about our families and our plans for our children, and we expect that they are looking out for our best interests. So when they exploit that special trust for their own personal gain through lies and deceit, this office will hold them accountable."

"This is someone who was a trusted financial advisor and longtime family friend of the victim who abused his position of trust," said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Indianapolis Division.



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