New York woman admits to embezzling over $1 million from Darien auto dealership

A New York woman pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of wire fraud arising from an embezzlement scheme resulting in the alleged theft of over $1 million from BMW of Darien.

Vanessa Vence-Small, 50, of New Windsor, New York, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven to one count of wire fraud arising from an embezzlement scheme. Vence-Small was operating as the controller at the time of the alleged embezzlement scheme.

This was announced by John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut on Thursday.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Vence-Small, was the controller of Felix F. Callari, Inc., doing business as Continental BMW of Darien, an automobile dealership.  From October 2014 to June 2017, Vence-Small allegedly made 65 unauthorized electronic fund transfers, totaling $904,659.29, from the dealership’s bank account to her personal American Express account.  Vence-Small also issued and signed 28 checks drawn on the dealership’s bank account, in the total amount of $207,777.78, to pay various third parties, including credit card companies, contractors who performed work at her residence, and a different dealership from which she allegedly purchased a car.  She also allegedly incurred on company accounts an additional $31,452.08 in unauthorized credit card charges and reimbursements.

Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for May 24,  at which time Vence-Small faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine of up to approximately $2.3 million, and an order of full restitution.

Vence-Small  is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Darien Police Department and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen.