Bloomington accountant and financial adviser Michael E. Sallee, 59, has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for his role in defrauding a longtime client and family friend out of nearly $1.2 million.
Sallee was charged with one count of mail fraud on April 3. He was sentenced on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt after he pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to court documents, Sallee’s victim was a woman who lived in the Jefferson County town of Madison, Indiana. The documents do not name the victim.
The victim had been a longtime client of Sallee’s father, and in 1997 Sallee began managing the victim’s financial affairs—namely, the proceeds from the sale of a family business that the victim’s late husband had built, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Linder prosecuted the case.
Starting in 2003, Sallee began embezzling money from the victim by writing checks or executing funds transfers from her account 98 times without her permission, court documents say.
Sallee used the money—$1.19 million in all—on things including vacation to Walt Disney World, Mackinac Island and Yellowstone National Park; golf club memberships; restaurant meals and retail purchases.
In 2013, the victim and her children began to notice irregularities in the financial statements Sallee mailed to them. An FBI investigation revealed that the financial statements were false.
As part of his sentence, Sallee was ordered to pay full restitution to the victim. To date he has repaid about $168,000, Minkler’s office said.
Sallee was terminated from his position at MML Investors Services LLC in Bloomington on April 25 because of the charges against him, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. He had worked at that firm only since March.
Sallee worked at Sallee & Co. Inc. P.C. in Bedford from 1990 to 2014.
Sallee is no longer registered as a broker or an investment adviser, FINRA records show.