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Former Tax Collector Arrested

Police say Karen Guillet stole more than $670,000 from the tax collector's office.

Former Tax Collector Karen Guillet has been arrested by state police on one count of first-degree larceny and six counts of first-degree forgery charges.

Guillet, a Democrat who resigned in June 2010, served in the elected position for 24 years. She has been under investigation since December 2009 after town officials had reason to believe she stole from the tax collector's office. Guillet admitted to taking about $3,000 and further investigation revealed she took at least $670,000 from the town over a six-year span, town officials have said in court.

The town has filed a civil suit against Guillet in which Oxford seeks monetary compensation - - and people have been anxiously awaiting criminal charges against Guillet.

A news release from the Connecticut State Police states that Guillet, 62, of 2 Douglas Drive in Oxford, turned herself in to the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad Detectives at State Police Troop A in Southbury.

"State Police received a complaint and Guillet became the subject of a two-year investigation into the larceny complaint believed to be in excess of a quarter of a million dollars from the Town of Oxford’s Tax Collector’s Office," the release states. "It is also alleged that Guillet was fabricating bank deposit slips and facilitating a complex check lapping scheme for many years."

The release states that police initiated an extensive criminal investigation into the allegations. A forensic examination of the town records was conducted and State Police Detectives conducted numerous interviews and gathered physical evidence, according to the release.

State Police detectives provided all investigative information and evidence in an arrest warrant application that was submitted to Superior Court, according to the release. An arrest warrant was issued by the court for Guillet's arrest, police stated.

Guillet was released on a $100,000 cash only bond. She will be arraigned at Derby Superior Court on Dec. 12.

Guillet's attorney has declined to comment to the media.

We will bring you more on this breaking story. Read more about the Guillet case from a previous Patch article posted below.

On Jan. 13, 2010, First Selectman Mary Ann Drayton-Rogers confronted her one time friend and Oxford's longtime Tax Collector Karen Guillet after auditors confirmed fraud had been committed in the tax office.

During a scheduled meeting in the selectmen's office, Drayton-Rogers said she asked Guillet three times about $3,093 that had not been properly deposited at Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan.

Guillet responded to the first two inquiries by stating, "It's not in the bank...It's not on my desk..." Drayton-Rogers testified at Milford Superior Court Friday.

"And when I asked her a third time, she said, 'I guess I took it,'" Drayton-Rogers said. 

And so began the downfall of a once respected tax collector who had cruised to re-election time and again over the past 24 years.

Drayton-Rogers testified Friday during a probable cause hearing as part of a  against Guillet in an attempt to recoup the money town officials claim Guillet stole. Drayton-Rogers said, after Guillet admitted to taking the money, she told the former tax collector she would not return to her office, advised her to obtain legal counsel and took Guillet's work keys before having her escorted out of Town Hall.

Before she left, Guillet said, "I'm glad it's over with," Drayton-Rogers testified.

Guillet was immediately placed on leave and was paid using her accrued sick time. She resigned five months later.

An ad hoc committee appointed by Drayton-Rogers contends that the 'it' to which Guillet referred was a scandal that Finance Director Jim Hliva compared to a Ponzi scheme, through which Guillet frequently stole cash payments and then shifted checks from other deposits to make up for the cash shortages. (Note: Guillet also owned taxes to the town for 2009 but paid them off in April of this year.) 

Since news broke of the alleged scandal, dozens of residents and business owners said they received delinquent tax notices even though they had proof of payment, Hliva testified. All told, those claims amount to $671,768 dating back to 2003, a number that Hliva called a "moving target" as people continue to make claims of delinquent notices they should not have received. 

All of the people who can prove they paid their fair share - either through a receipt from the tax office or a cancelled check - have had their accounts credited, Hliva said.

The three-member ad hoc committee investigated only the largest dollar amounts, which were in the thousands of dollars, Hliva said.

As part of their detailed investigation, committee members took cancelled checks back to NVS&L and asked to see documentation of all money deposited on those days, Hliva said.

The committee then compared the bank's records to those of the tax collector and noticed they did not match. For example, on Aug. 10, 2009, $9,255 in cash was taken into the tax collector's office, according to town records, and just $858 was deposited at the bank, Hliva said. Checks were then taken from different accounts to make up for the cash shortage, he said.

"Kind of like a Ponzi scheme?" Judge Arthur A. Miller asked Friday.

"That is correct," Hliva replied.

Guillet's defense attorney, Dominick J. Thomas, said he believed all along the court would find probable cause.

"Based on the testimony (of Drayton-Rogers), there is no doubt in my mind the court is going to find probable cause to an amount," Thomas said. "The sole question here is the amount."

He said documentation provided in court by Town Counsel Fran Teodosio simply states that for a period of time something was wrong with the computer in the tax office.

Thomas said the defense will now look into "the backup the town has to see whether the batches and the deposits didn't jibe."

"That's all it is, nothing that they have is any proof that she took it," he said. "Now it goes to another level, so at this point, we will be addressing those issues."

Guillet has turned down numerous media requests for comment.

"My client's position is she's not going to discuss the issue," Thomas said. "You heard what she told the first selectman and that's all I'm going to say about that."

Whatever comes out of the civil case, Drayton-Rogers said the public's trust has been compromised, and town officials continue to work hard to gain it back.

"I've received many calls and comments from people who are quite upset," she said. "They are upset that somebody would use their hard-earned tax dollars for personal gain."

Judge agrees the town has probable cause

Milford Superior Court Judge Arthur A. Hiller said there was probable cause to hear the town's civil lawsuit against former Tax Collector Karen Guillet. Hiller agreed Friday to attach treble damages to the town’s claim, meaning Oxford can get triple the amount of the actual damages that officials said they were able to prove was missing after they reviewed a sampling of tax payments between 2007-09 and cross referenced them with bank deposit slips. That amount was $233,322, which, when multiplied by three equals $699,396.

The town has also put a $150,000 lien on her house and property at 2 Douglas Drive in Oxford - Guillet's half of the home she shares with her husband - and officials do not want to pay her pension, which Guillet’s attorney, Dominick J. Thomas, vehemently opposed.

Hiller has not ruled on whether the town can revoke the pension and has asked Thomas and Town Counsel Fran Teodosio to file briefs explaining their positions within two weeks.

Guillet, who was not in court, has already taken about $13,000 out of that pension account, Teodosio said. Thomas said his client is relying on that money to pay her attorney’s fees.

Guillet has not been charged criminally. The criminal investigation is being led by the State Police Western District Major Crimes Squad. State police say there is a lot that goes into these investigations and they could take up to five years.

Guillet served as Oxford's elected tax collector for 24 years before she resigned in June. 

Betty Ippolito December 04, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Oxford for Truth, Isn't a shame it's politics as usual. Shame on you for insulting George Temple in this way. I for one am very happy for the change in Oxford and I'm sure Mr. Temple will do a good job. I am scratching my head wondering what kind of person could write such nonsense????
Betty Ippolito December 04, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Oxford for Truth, I made a comment in regards to your comment of Saturday, December 3, and I thought about it again today. I can't understand when someone like you can make an insulting comment, why you can't at least use your own name instead of using Oxford for Truth???? You have to be kidding me....How about giving us your real name?????
Oxford for Truth December 05, 2011 at 01:01 AM
Betty Ippolito, George Temple really knows little about Oxford and what has transpired over the last decade. You like him now, let's see after some time what you think. His statement to the news outlet was embarrassing, that's all we are saying. For the sake of Oxford I hope Temple is capable of doing a good job. Let's face it, so far he had the door removed from his office. I guess that was a major step in lowering taxes, building a football stadium, paving our roads. I guess with no he won't have to worry about losing his keys.
kathy johnson December 05, 2011 at 04:49 AM
George may not be the best public speaker but he is not stupid. I would not under estimate him if I where you.
Betty Ippolito December 05, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Oxford for Truth, I see you are still not using your real name??? I looked up and found Mr. Temple has been a resident of Oxford for twenty (20) years, was our Town Attorney four (4) years under Mr. Paul Schreiber. I feel he is familiar with what has been going on in our town. In regards to the door being removed from his office, You must work in the Town Hall because the average resident really would not know this. I agree with Kathy, let's not under estimate Mr. Temple.
kathy johnson December 05, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Thanks Betty you said everything I already knew about George but it was late and I was too lazy to write anymore. By the way you all must know by now that the workforce housing regs formulated by the P$Z were rejected recently by the State of Ct. KOG was correct. I wonder who told them this could happen. Was it that dummy George Temple? lol.
Janis Hardy December 08, 2011 at 05:01 AM
Kathy, the IHOZ application WAS NOT rejected! It is simply on hold and will be reviewed sometime in the future. At least they didn't return it to us! I spoke with Mr. Desai at OPM in August. He is the head of the department in charge of these applications. He told me he thought that they should have all the funding issues resolved withing a couple of months. At the time, I knew we were about 6 weeks or so away from being finished and I told him that. He said that Oxford should send its application in whenever it was ready and it would be held until they were ready to re-start the review process. So while KOG reported that the application process was on hold early in the summer, P&Z was aware that the program was going to be restarted at some point after we sent in our application. This delay is no big deal and is typical of OPM and the way they do things. Too many people still do not understand the process!
kathy johnson December 08, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Janis you are correct. The word rejected should have been on hold. The outcome is still the same no regs yet for oxford. I blame both political partys and the KOG for what has occured. I will say it again these regs should have gone forwatd two years ago.
Janis Hardy December 08, 2011 at 05:42 PM
CSI: Your comments here show two things: you can't have an honest discussion without being insulting and derrogatory, even when you don't know what you're talking about, and you repeat the misinformation continually spread by KOG to serve your own agenda. You stated "the P&Z was informed by Mrs. Carver that IHZ applications were not being accepted any longer." Do you think we accepted anything she said as gospel? I called OPM myself and spoke personally with Mr. Desai who denied making that statement to Mrs. Carver. What he told her was that there was a temporary moratorium on applications. What he told me was that moratorium would be lifted (a) after the state's budget issues were resolved and (b) when OPM reworked the financial considerations paid to qualifying municipalities based on the change made to the enabling statute. That doesn't sound like 'not being accepted any longer' to me. But then, I choose to listen to the whole story, not just the part I want to hear. Mr. Desai gave me an approximate time frame and P&Z complied. I have a real problem with governance in any form that relies only on what one person says, especially when that one person has a personal agenda that will wind up causing Oxford more problems than you can imagine. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens, whether or not the IHOZ regs are adopted. Wonder how you'll like it if someone decides to come in and want to build garden apartments along 67 with no legal way to stop them?
David Yish December 08, 2011 at 07:31 PM
For Paul Singley: How is any of this housing talk relevant to our Tax Collector situation? This seems to happen on most topics.
Paul Singley December 08, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Dave: While I'd like the comments to be centered toward the article, there is nothing that says they have to be. Ideally, we'd like people to police themselves and their neighbors on this site since most of the people who comment are adults. The only time I really get involved is when people call others names or say something outrageous. If they start talking about another issue in town, I don't feel the need to stop them. Please also remember that any inappropriate comments can be flagged as inappropriate by our readers. Please feel free to email me with any further questions or concerns. Thank you.
Craig Zac December 08, 2011 at 09:45 PM
it ALWAYS happens...lol it could be a nice story of a small child who planted a garden of beautiful flowers so she can pick them and bring a fresh bouquet to the folks at the cancer hospital and it would go from.. "Oh so sweet" and "What a heart warming story" straight to, "If it weren't for the last administration, these people wouldn't have cancer to begin with" and "if P&Z thinks they are going to build more places for sick people in town, they are crazy!" to.. Typical democrats, give away all her hard earned flowers to sick people who dont work!" lol...
Dick Kaminski December 08, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Craig - Spot on.
Get Real December 08, 2011 at 10:25 PM
For CSI--Your animosity is showing in your comments. Thank goodness for the clarity of Janis Hardy and her presentation of facts. Thank goodness for the class of Mrs. Drayton-Rogers who won't be lowered to your level of haranguing comments and name calling. Most posters on Patch keep asking for civil dialogue and you just keep making nasty, personal attacks on people which shows your lack of willingness to listen to the facts. In addition, you don't seem to understand that those you attack are working to protect the town and support regulations for affordable housing and controls over incentinve housing zones. So what is your point? You have nothing logical to present except that you want to attack others just to be ornary and obstinate. Please get over yourself. And don't ask for my name since you don't use your name either so let's just keep this civil.
Janis Hardy December 08, 2011 at 10:37 PM
OK, CSI. Am I to understand that you are suggesting that if P&Z had written regs for single-family detached 'affordable housing' to be constructed along the Rt 67 corridor with half- or quarter-acre lots, such regs would be bullet-proof against a developer who wants to come into Oxford and build higher density housing under the Section 8-30g appeals process? Am I understanding that such regs would protect us against a developer who may want to build 12-20 unit apartments or attached housing with a density of more than 4 units (using the 1/4 acre lot size) per acre? If I am understanding correctly, how would those regs protect the town from unwanted development under 8-30g? Could you guarantee your response? Please understand I am being absolutely serious here and not facetious in any way.
Janis Hardy December 08, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Dave and Craig: So far the conversation between CSI and myself is generally polite. Somebody else bought up the IHOZ regs. We are just taking advantage of the opening it created.
Janis Hardy December 08, 2011 at 11:01 PM
The elections are over and the affordable housing discussion can take a different track now. While the administrations and the players have changed, the issue has not. Some can think that KOG's point has been won because of the election results but I am not convinced that is the case. However, I am interested in CSI's responses to the questions I have asked him, so could we all keep any residual politics out of this discussion and let it progress politely? While my term on P&Z ends at the end of tis month, my interest in and concern for this issue doesn't, so please don't be surprised to see discussion about it on the Patch from time to time. After all, it's not like I can call CSI on the phone or continue a private email conversation since I have no idea who he/she is.
Craig Zac December 09, 2011 at 02:01 AM
lol I know Janis, but isnt it true? no matter what the topic, there is always someone who brings up politics or blames one of our elected officials. Like the story about the stolen Welcome to Oxford sign... it went from a news story of a stolen sign to a political argument about who paid for it and why and how that money could have went elsewhere... its just crazy. But, I guess this is the nature of the internet..we can all air our dirty laundry under fake names and not worry about others knowing who we are.
Ed Rowland December 09, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Christmas is coming soon.Let us focus on the holiday season and being with family and friends.Be thankful for your health and the health of your families.Remeber the real reason for the season and try to keep that in our thoughts and deeds every day of the year.Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the good people of Oxford.
Janis Hardy December 09, 2011 at 02:34 AM
Craig, for what it's worth, I respect an individual's right to post anonymously. It doesn't bother me at all and I have said here before that there are many who cannot participate using their real names for fear of repercussion or because of where they work, etc, etc. I would rather have them engaged in any discussion here and not be excluded. I do agree with those who have an issue with anonymous posters when those people hide behind a pseudonym to be rude, crass or just plain nasty thinking they can get away with it. Unfortunately that doesn't advance their cause, it just detracts from their credibility. If you've noticed, I haven't received a response from CSI to my questions. I wonder why, since the answers can't be that difficult... Perhaps he/she went to the P&Z hearing this evening....
Janis Hardy December 09, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Yes Ed, we all should be grateful for everything that God has blessed us with. Merry Christmas to you, too, and a Happy New Year! And after you recover from that New Year's celebration, I am hoping to get a phone call from you. (Since we just got back from vacation, I figure we've rested up enough!)
Janis Hardy December 09, 2011 at 03:27 PM
CSI, thanks for responding! Scroll up to my response to your comment about P&Z wasting its time with Roger's agenda. My (serious) questions are there. I really would like your thoughts about this because in my opinion, this is the entire crux of the differences of opinion from both sides. The majority of P&Z commissioners believe one thing (based on its experience with respect to losing 2 court cases) and you claim a majority of town residents believe something else would/could have been a better solution. I want to understand how these other solutions will protect the town from possible 8-30g lawsuits. Now, you should know that I debated this same issue with Dave Yish (a very reasonable man, in my opinion) for over two hours, and he couldn't answer the question adequately enough for me, so I am hoping for a different result here. I am not interested in arguing this, just discussing, OK? I respect that it is Christmas season and we all are busy, so whenever you get the time (if Paul doesn't shut this down before then!) Thanks!
Beth December 30, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Betty, even the auditors could not detect for many years, Karen's extensive lapping scheme...I don't know if it is fair to put the blame on them, but I still feel that they should not have been rehired by the current administration.
Beth December 30, 2011 at 03:27 AM
Joe, You state," Karen victimized not only others, but her family and herself as well." I disagree because there is no way that her husband didn't know what was going on...Where do you think all of the money came from to support such a luxurious lifestyle? I cannot believe that you fel somewhat sorry for her since we will probably never know the extent of what she stole...
Beth December 30, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Betty, the doors being removed was in the news...public info...
Beth December 31, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Joe Hines, I respect your right to be a bleeding heart. I also am happy that our system of justice provides an opportunity for miscreants to correct their "mistakes."
MSB April 27, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I love how strongly you all are trying to distance yourself from this and act like you all didn't have the slightest clue. You all sound incompetent. If you have the town residents' interest in mind, then you should all step aside and quit. Like my family, I have been keeping an eye on the case. Maybe you all can explain to me how idiotic you all are and how Karen Guillet is free on bond after embezzling money? She shouldn't have any money. You are all at fault and we are at fault for electing incompetent and lying sacks of $#@% like you. You knew. Look how hard you are trying to disconnect from it.
MSB April 27, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Stop trying to deflect, using this forum as a high school debate club, and do your JOBS!
MSB April 27, 2012 at 06:44 PM
By the way, I printed out all of your comments in case my family wants to go ahead and try to sue the former town lawyer, who kept pushing my parents on the back burner, and publicly denied knowing Karen Guillet. But with your comments, I am sure we can disprove that comment of his.
Paul Singley August 01, 2012 at 02:21 PM
On July 31, Karen Guillet plead guilty to first-degree larceny under a plea agreement. Read more here: http://oxford-ct.patch.com/articles/former-oxford-tax-collector-pleads-guilty

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