Ocean County Attorney Scammed Elderly Clients Out of $2M, State Says
TRENTON — A Jersey Shore elder care lawyer was charged with stealing nearly $2 million in assets from his clients.
Robert Novy, 66, defrauded six clients between 2009 and 2016, according to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, who often did not have a close relative to claim their estate or challenge Novy’s actions and used the money to pay personal and business expenses.
Novy also hosted a local weekly radio program in Ocean County called "Inside The Law," which was aimed at an elderly audience interested in protecting and investing their money. The infomercial-type show, which Novy paid the station to broadcast, ended in 2016.
"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,” Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice, said.
Novy gained control through wills, powers of attorney, and trust documents, making himself the sole financial decision-maker for the clients. When clients had sizable assets in the form of an annuity or life insurance policy, Novy allegedly directed insurance companies to redeem the policies and send the money directly to him.
In some cases, when challenged by trustees or relatives about particular funds that had been withdrawn from client accounts, Novy claimed they were “administrative errors” and repaid the funds.
Ocean County is home to the largest over-65 population in New Jersey.
“We urge anyone with relevant information about Novy and his handling of client funds to contact our office on our tip line at 866-TIPS-4CJ (866-847-7425) to report the information confidentially." Honig said.