Woman charged with swindling $113,000 from military vet

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published April 7, 2024

 Kristin Vian

Kristin Vian


HAZEL PARK — About three years ago, a Hazel Park man befriended a woman more than 30 years his junior. A year later, he noticed money disappearing from his bank account.

Now, the woman stands accused of having used his banking information to bilk him out of more than $100,000.

Kristin Vian, 42, formerly of Auburn Hills, has been charged with larceny of more than $20,000, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. She was recently bound over for trial in Oakland County Circuit Court, where she has a pre-trial date set for May 2.

At press time, her attorney Douglas Hampton had not returned requests for comment.

Vian was previously arraigned in Hazel Park 43rd District Court Feb. 24 and has since been held in Oakland County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond. At press time, she was also being held for other charges including two probation violations and drug possession, with a $12,000 cash bond for alleged property damage in a separate Oak Park case.

In recent years, Vian had been living out of hotels and motels in the area, police said. It is alleged that in less than two years, she swindled the victim out of $113,000.

Vian first met the victim — a 73-year-old man who is a military veteran and lives in Hazel Park — during a chance meeting at a Detroit gas station in the summer of 2021. They quickly became friends, and police say Vian exploited the man’s trust to gain access to his personal records.

“This woman probably marked him out as a target from the very start,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Brian Buchholz.

Police say that Vian fraudulently made herself a delegate to the man’s bank account and opened a checking account using his information. She also reportedly acquired a debit card that she used to withdraw money from his account.

But about a year into the scam, the victim and his son noticed that his savings were depleting for no apparent reason. They began looking more closely at the situation, including a series of withdrawals that the victim did not recognize.

Once the police got involved, it was determined that Vian had made herself an unauthorized delegate on the victim’s account. Authorities believe that she has a history of drug abuse and that she was using the man’s money to pay off her credit card debt.

Police say Vian may have gained access to the man’s information while housekeeping for him at multiple points in 2021 while he was at the hospital for surgery. The victim first reported the missing money to police in the summer of 2022. Police say the investigation that followed was a lengthy and complex process, culminating in the charges earlier this year.

“It did take some time for the detectives to go through all of the banking records and try to see how the money was coming out of the accounts, and to tie this woman to those transactions,” Buchholz said.

“You really need to know someone very well before you invite them into your home and allow them to be there without you being there,” the chief added. “We feel terrible for the victim to suffer this much loss. I’ve talked to him at different times, and seen him throughout the city at different events. He’s a very good man, and a trusting person. But unfortunately, the woman here was just not the right person to trust. I feel bad that this happened to him.”