Attorney: Ex-New Canaan woman used son’s life insurance to gamble
A former New Canaan woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Virginia courtroom to embezzling about $100,000 from her grandchildren by spending her late son’s insurance policy.
Frances Ireland, 71, was given a five-year suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty in Bedford County Circuit Court in Virginia.
In court, a Commonwealth County attorney said Ireland used the money to fuel her gambling habit.
Ireland and her late husband David Walter Ireland, a retired New Canaan police officer, moved to Virginia about 20 years ago.
She was arrested on Sept. 18, 2018 on a charge of felony embezzlement.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened,” she said in court, according to The News and Advance that covered the case..
Her son, David Peter Ireland, designated his two children, currently ages 15 and 19, as beneficiaries of his life insurance policy.
David Ireland , who had also moved to Virginia with his family, died on Sept. 21, 2014 at age 38. He was the former owner of Dave’s Precision auto shop in Danbury, Conn.
In late November 2014, his mother received more than $100,000 as custodian of the funds, since his oldest daughter Skyler was still a minor at the time.
The News and Advance reported that Bedford Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Ayers said Frances Ireland opened bank accounts in her grandchildren’s names and used the money from her son’s policy “to support her own gambling habit.”
The Virginia newspaper reported that while on the witness stand, both teens and their mother all asked for some jail time for Ireland. Their mother, Jessica Reynolds, said Ireland hasn’t shown remorse for what happened or repaid any of the money.
Documents in a civil case to recover the payout money, which was filed soon after Ireland’s eldest grandchild turned 18 in August 2017, state Ireland never provided any accounting of the life insurance funds when requested to do so.
Webster Hogeland, who represented Ireland, said she admitted to her gambling problem and lost everything she had. He added her husband had nothing to do with what happened. Ireland intends to pay her grandchildren back, he said.
Civil cases against Ireland to pay back the money are still open.