Atlantic County Senior Swindle Accomplice Sentenced
Admitting her role in what prosecutors say was an orchestrated plan to skim millions of dollars from aged clients of an Atlantic County in-home senior care firm, an Egg Harbor Township woman is sentenced to three years in prison.
Susan Hamlett, 57, pleaded guilty on the eve of trial, to a second-dgree conspiracy count, according to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
Hamlett admitted conspiring to take more than $100,000 from a single client.
She worked as a client aide for A Better Choice, and was indicted in March 2015. Also indicted at the same time were three defendants from Linwood: Jan Van Holt, 60, the company's former owner; her sister, Sondra Steen, who helped manage the business; and former Atlantic County social worker William Price, 58.
Former elder law attorney Barbara Lieberman, 54, of Northfield, pleaded guilty before the indictment. Investigators claimed that Liberman, Van Holt and Steen stole more than $2,700,000 from 12 clients between 2003 and 2012.
Lieberman pleaded guilty to a first-degree money laundering charge in November 2014. The following March, she was sentenced to a 10-year term, with three-and-a-half years of parole ineligibility, forfeiting her law license and $3,000,000.
Van Holt pleaded guilty to money laundering this past April, and faces a potential 12 years behind bars with five-and-a-half years of parole ineligibility at her scheduled October 28 sentencing.
In March of this year, Steen was given 10 years in prison for her guilty plea to a money laundering count, and ordered to serve four-and-a-half years before parole consideration.
Price pleaded guilty to a second-degree theft charge, admitting that he clipped $125,000 from a couple during his term as a case worker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services. He was given a five-year term in October 2015.
The probe began when the New Jersey Office of the Public Guardian referred one victim's case to New Jersey State Police.
Prosecutors said that five of the 12 victims were engaged as clients by Van Holt during her term as a case worker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services, which lasted from 2002 through her termination in October 2007.
According to investigators, elderly clients, usually with significant assets and typically with no or little immediate family nearby, were targeted with offers of non-medical care and services such as housekeeping, errands, driving services, scheduling, budgeting, bill-paying, and bank account record keeping.
After Van Holt recruited a target, Steen normally became the primary caregiver, and Lieberman would handle legal work such as preparing powers of attorney and wills, authorities said. They took control of finances by forging powers of attorney or using false pretenses to obtain them.
The defendants became signatories on victims' bank accounts, or transferred funds into accounts they controlled, using part of the money to pay expenses incurred by victims, in order to mask the thefts, authorities said.
Van Holt and Steen used the money for purposes such as veterinary bills, pool supplies, a pair of Mercedes-Benz automobiles owned by Van Holt, and lease payments for a condominium in Florida.
Stocks and bonds were cashed out, and the payouts were transferred into an account that the defendants allegedly controlled. Lieberman routinely appointed herself or Van Holt as executor of estates when preparing wills, listing as beneficiaries Steen and others with little or no connection to the clients, and who never received any part of the estates.