Dealership ex-controller pleads guilty to stealing $1.1 million

A former dealership controller faces up to 20 years in prison, a $2.3 million fine and full restitution for wire fraud and embezzlement in a $1.1 million scheme.

Vanessa Vence-Small, 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court of Connecticut last week to one count of wire fraud arising from an embezzlement scheme, said a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Vence-Small was the controller at Continental BMW of Darien, in Connecticut, from October 2014 to June 2017. During that time, she made 65 unauthorized electronic fund transfers from the dealership’s bank account that totaled nearly $905,000. She moved the money to her personal American Express account, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Vence-Small also issued and signed 28 checks drawn on the dealership’s bank account that totaled about $208,000. She used that money to pay credit cards, contractors who did work on her residence, a different dealership where she bought a car and other “various third parties,” the office said. She also rang up an additional $31,400 in unauthorized credit card charges and reimbursements on the dealership’s accounts.

Vence-Small, who is out on a $100,000 bond, will be sentenced May 24.

A call to Continental BMW of Darien seeking comment was not returned.