A New Jersey lawyer has pleaded guilty to fleecing millions of dollars from his elderly clients.
Manchester solo Robert Novy, 66, a Brick resident, on July 27 pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering before Ocean County Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins, according to a release from the Attorney General’s Office.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Novy be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including three years and four months of parole ineligibility. In pleading guilty, Novy admitted that he stole large sums from law clients, the release said.
Novy is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 28
Novy’s Attorney, Gerald Krovatin of Krovatin Klingeman in Newark, said: “Bob Novy has accepted responsibility for his conduct. The $4 million is more than enough to satisfy the legitimate claims of his former clients.”
According to prosecutors, the plea also requires Novy to pay restitution to his victims out of two funds, totaling $4 million, that are being created using assets previously seized from him by the state: one fund of $3 million to provide restitution to client-victims, heirs, estates and trusts already identified through the state’s investigation; and a second fund of $1 million to provide restitution for others not previously identified who come forward with proof that they were victims of thefts.
Novy also must surrender his license to practice law in New Jersey, and pay $500,000 to the state as an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty, the release said.
“By exploiting elderly clients and stealing their life savings, Novy sank to the lowest levels of greed, dishonesty, and callousness,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in the statement. “This guilty plea serves justice by ensuring that Novy will face a substantial prison sentence and that his victims will receive restitution from assets already seized from him.”
Novy was the subject of a 10-count indictment charging him with misapplication of entrusted property, and multiple counts of theft and money laundering. Novy’s victims typically did not have close relatives to monitor their interests, and, in some cases, the clients suffered from dementia, prosecutors said, charging that he used the stolen funds for his own benefit, paying personal and business expenses. He was accused of taking control through wills, powers of attorney, and trust documents, making himself the sole financial decision-maker for the clients.
As an elder law practitioner, Novy hosted a bimonthly radio program, “Inside the Law,” on WOBM in Lakewood, which focused on topics of concern to senior citizens.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, he was arrested on Oct. 18, 2016, after law enforcement executed a search warrant at his office, and charges were then referred to the grand jury. Prosecutors obtained court orders freezing more than $3.5 million in assets held by Novy, and appointing a trustee to oversee the firm’s business operations, the office said.
The indictment alleged that from 2009 through 2016, Novy stole approximately $1.9 million from six elderly clients, in amounts ranging from about $45,000 to nearly $740,000. The indictment alleged that Novy stole money in varying ways: transferring funds from his clients’ personal bank accounts or liquidated personal assets into his own bank account; transferring funds from personal accounts or liquidated assets into Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) sub-accounts he controlled when those funds should have instead been placed in independent, managed trust funds selected by the clients; and transferring money from personal and trust accounts to firm business accounts.
Full Article & Source:
NJ Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Bilking Elderly Clients