UPDATE 5:30 p.m. Friday: STAMFORD, Conn. — A Stamford woman was charged Thursday with embezzling more than $400,000 from her grandmother, Sgt. Peter diSpagna said.
Heather Gansel, 35, had power of attorney for her 92-year-old grandmother and “systematically withdrew” $439,000 from April 2011 to August 2012, diSpagna said. The money was used to help finance her fitness and chiropractic care business as well as for personal use, he said.
Her grandmother has since died, he said.
Gansel said she did not commit a crime and said the money was taken on loan from her grandmother with her permission, said Timothy Parlatore, Gansel’s attorney. She had also made payments back to the estate, he said.
Police were tipped off when Gansel's uncle, her grandmother’s son, found out that one of her accounts was empty, diSpagna said.
Parlatore described the incident as “unnecessary” and “unfortunate.” The matter should have been addressed in civil court, he said, before becoming a criminal case, which harms Gansel’s reputation.
Gansel was charged with first-degree larceny and was released after posting $50,000 bond. She has a court date of Dec. 13.
Gansel looks forward to protesting the charge, Parlatore said.