Borough woman cops plea to bank fraud scam charges

A Naugatuck woman pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this month to participating in a bank fraud scheme that cost Webster Bank and Bank of America more than $6 million combined.

Susan A. Curtis, 49, pleaded guilty in Bridgeport before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall to two counts of bank fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. Curtis pleaded not guilty to another count of bank fraud and conspiracy to money launder; she will face trial April 18 on those charges.

For each count of bank fraud, Curtis faces a 30-year maximum prison term, and for each count of filing a false tax return she faces a three-year maximum prison term. She also faces a maximum fine of more than $12 million and will be ordered to pay restitution to the two banks and the Internal Revenue Service, including penalties and interest.

In addition, the federal government is trying to seize more than $1 million worth of Curtis’s property, including East Hampton real estate, several cars, two Harley Davidson motorcycles, two boats and boat trailers, artwork, jewelry and a Steinway piano, as well as a money judgment of more than $7 million.

Curtis, a former Webster Bank employee, established a company named New House with her ex-husband Kevin W. Caffrey. She formed another company, Equity Realty, with her husband Gary J. Stocking Jr., also of Naugatuck. Curtis submitted documents that falsely claimed both companies were due about $5 million in real estate fees, which Webster Bank paid, according to court records.

Curtis also got some Webster Bank clients and a representative of the bank to send more than $1 million directly to Equity Realty instead of to the bank, and she lied about her income and liabilities to receive a $649,000 loan from Bank of America, according to court records.

The tax fraud convictions come from returns Curtis filed from 2006 through 2009 in which she failed to report embezzled money totaling more than $3.79 million, according to court records.

Caffrey pleaded guilty in October to bank fraud and filing a false tax return but has not yet been sentenced.