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Woman Gets Five Years in Prison for Stealing Millions

Posted on: 4:49 pm, December 20, 2012, by , updated on: 06:15pm, December 20, 2012

A woman from Susquehanna County is headed to prison for teaming up with her son to steal more than $14 million from a credit union in New York state.

Laura Conarton from Hallstead, admitted to fabricating bank documents to convince the credit union to loan them the money.

Conarton left the federal courthouse in Binghamton after her sentencing. In January, she’ll start serving a five year prison term.

Back in August, Conarton admitted to fabricating documents and lying to officials with the Broome County Teachers Credit Union.

She did it in order to get more than $14 million in loans. Both Conarton and her son, Scott Lonzinski, said the money would be used for their construction business. Instead, they used most of it for personal expenses, expensive cars, and land.

“I worked at a NY school for 20 years, I had to use B.C.T. so part of that was probably my money if it was that long so yeah it’s wrong,” said Karen Phelps of Conklin, NY.

The scheme caused the long time credit union to go under.

In court, Conarton said she was sorry for what she did. Her attorney called her a hard worker and said she was only trying to help her son succeed in his construction business.

“She didn’t benefit from this, she had a job with her son, but it wasn’t a high paying job, she made the same amount of money she did when she was employed in the banking industry so she really didn’t benefit from this scheme,” said Paul Walker, Conarton’s attorney.

Her attorney said Conarton never thought it would get out of control and turn into what it did. Some people who have been following the case agree.

“I actually believe that they didn’t intend this to snowball like it did. I think what they did, they were just trying to help the business along,” said Tim O’Neill of Great Bend.

Conarton will report to federal prison at the end of January.

She’ll serve five years behind bars, and then five years of probation.

She has been ordered to pay back the more than $14 million in restitution.

Her son, Scott Lonzinski, received the same sentence.

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