Former Bloomington accountant sentenced for stealing nearly $1.2M from widow

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced Friday that a former Bloomington accountant and financial advisor has been sentenced in federal court for defrauding a long-time client out of nearly $1.2M dollars.

Michael Sallee, 59, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud charges.

According to a press release, Sallee began managing financial affairs for the victim, a longtime family friend, in 1997.

The victim was also a widow and reportedly trusted Sallee for managing  the proceeds from the sale of her family’s business, which her late husband had built.

Authorities say beginning in 2003, he began embezzling funds from the victim’s account to his own personal account. For the next ten years, Sallee reportedly wrote checks or transferred funds to himself from the victim’s account on nearly 100 separate occasions.

In 2013, the victim and her children began to notice irregularities in the financial statements that Sallee would prepare and mail to them.

According to the FBI, they revealed that the financial statements sent were false.

In total, during the ten years, Sallee stole $1,193, 781.90 from the victim and her family.  They say he used the money for his own benefit, taking trips to Disney World, Mackinac Island and Yellowstone National Park.

“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.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, Sallee was ordered to pay full restitution to the victim for the entire amount that he stole.

To date, he has reportedly paid back around $168,000.

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