Bad Lawyers

New Jersey Attorney Robert Novy Gave Seminars on Elder Law While Stealing from Clients
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Robert Novy

Summary: A New Jersey attorney who ran a radio show on elder law is accused of stealing nearly $2 million from at least six of his elderly clients.

A prominent Ocean County attorney in New Jersey made himself an expert and leader in elder law. Robert Novy hosted a radio show and seminars on elder law, acting like an honorable attorney but was actually stealing money from six of his elderly clients, according to the ABA Journal.

  
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His bi-monthly radio program, Inside the Law, discussed topics that concern senior citizens such as estate planning, wills, planning, and powers of attorney. He performed that last session in June 2016.

The 66-year-old from Brick, New Jersey was arrested in October 2016. The arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau with assistance by the New Jersey Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigation. They referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice by Ocean County Surrogate Jeffrey W. Moran. The New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics also investigated Novy, issuing an ethics complaint in January 2016 against him. They assisted the Division of Criminal Justice.

He was indicted Monday, charged with three counts misapplication of entrusted property in the second degree, two counts theft by unlawful taking in the second degree, one count theft by deception in the second degree, two counts money laundering in the first degree and two counts money laundering in the second degree.

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Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced in the press release that Novy is accused of stealing $1.9 million from his clients. He is accused of stealing from elderly clients and deceased former clients that did not have a close relative to challenge what Novy was doing. Grewal said, “Novy allegedly stole nearly $2 million from vulnerable clients, preying on seniors who were frail and isolated and who trusted him as their attorney to guard their life savings. It is hard to imagine a more callous personal and professional betrayal.”

He was able to get access to the money through wills, power of attorney and trust documents between 2009 and 2016. He would then charge unauthorized fees and laundered misappropriated money through his IOLTA account and other bank accounts. In total, he ran three schemes to get their money. The first scheme was simply transferring money from their account to his for a total of $322,342. The second scheme had Novy transferring their funds into IOLTA sub-accounts that he controlled for a total of $929,026. In the third scheme, Novy would transfer their funds into his law firm’s operating and disbursement accounts for a total of $659,457.



Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig added, “We allege that Novy systematically drained his clients’ assets, laundering funds through various bank accounts and charging unauthorized fees to enrich himself and his firm. We urge anyone with relevant information about Novy and his handling of client funds to contact our office.”

The breakdown of stolen funds from six elderly clients are as follows:

  1. A Brick woman who died in 2015 at the age of 88. He allegedly stole $738,457 from her.
  2. A Manchester woman suffering from dementia and eventually died in 2014 at the age of 87. He is believed to have stolen $650,700 from her.
  3. A Brick woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who died in 2013 at the age of 85. The alleged theft in this instance was $242,305.
  4. A Manchester woman who is still alive at the age of 98. Novy is accused of stealing $130,000 from her.
  5. A Point Pleasant woman suffering from dementia who later died in 2015 at the age of 87. He allegedly stole $103,843.
  6. A Waretown couple who died in 2011 and 2013. Novy is alleged to have stolen $45,520 from them.

The total maximum sentence for the charges is 30 years.

Novy contends he has done nothing wrong. His attorney, Gerald Krovatin, said, “Bob Novy went the extra mile for all of his clients. Anyone who knows him knows he would never steal from them or take advantage of them.”

Do you think Novy can explain his way out of the large transfers of money into his accounts? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys who take advantage of elderly clients, read these articles:

Photo: politicsoc.com



 

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