Radio Host Lawyer Indicted for Stealing Client Funds
New Jersey lawyer Robert Novy used to host a radio show, talking to listeners mostly about elder law issues.
You know, things like how to protect your estate from greedy people or how to guard against undue influence from those you trust. That was then.
Now Novy has been charged with stealing $1.9 million from his elderly clients. It goes to show that if you can't trust your radio host, who can you trust?
Power of Attorney
Novy was indicted on charges he stole from elderly and deceased clients who had no close relatives to challenge his actions. He allegedly took control of their estates through wills, trusts and powers of attorney he drafted.
Prosecutors say he also charged unauthorized fees and laundered money through his attorney-client trust account. He was charged after a long investigation and an ethics complaint that was filed in January 2016.
"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," said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. "It is hard to imagine a more callous personal and professional betrayal."
Authorities arrested Novy in October 2017 and searched his office for records, then obtained court orders freezing more than $3 million in assets held by Novy and his firm. That led to a 10-count indictment.
The indictment describes three schemes Novy used to launder money. He allegedly:
- Liquidated client assets and transferred $322,342 to his accounts
- Used powers of attorney to transfer $929,02 from clients to accounts he controlled
- Transferred $659,457 in client funds to the firm's operating accounts
In three matters, Novy allegedly stole $738,4576 from one woman, $650,700 from another and $245,305 from a third. They were dead at the time.
Novy, 66, could spend the rest of his life in prison. The money laundering charges alone carry up to 30 years in prison, with fines and penalties up to $1 million.
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