Atlantic County Attorney Charged with Bilking Millions from Elderly Clients
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Attorney Barbara Lieberman, 62, a prominent Atlantic County lawyer and three other women including the owner of an in-home senior care company have been charged have been charged by the authorities for preying on elderly clients and bilking more than $2 million from elderly victims. The attorney, Lieberman, specialized in elder law, and the other women in social work.
The women were arrested on Wednesday on charges including theft, conspiracy, money laundering and deception according to acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. Until now, at least 10 victims have been identified, and the ongoing investigation is expected to yield additional victims. The elder law attorney, Lieberman, and the owner of the in-home senior care company, Jan Van Holt, have been identified by the authorities as the ringleaders in the conspiracy to deceive elder citizens.
Van Holt positioned herself by working as a caseworker for the Atlantic County Adult Protective Services, while operating "A Better Choice," an in-home senior care company. Lieberman used to hold seminars on elder law for senior citizens and referred clients to Van Holt and vice versa. The defendants used to identify senior citizens with substantial assets to offer financial and legal services.
According to Hoffman, the duo used to forge powers of attorney or obtained such authorizations through false pretenses and then took control of the bank accounts of their elderly clients. To cover up the thefts they used to transfer funds from one victim to another, and used some of the funds for legitimate reasons to keep up the deception.
One of the victims, a 94-year-old woman died in a nursing home after being forced to live there because the accused put a $195,000 reverse mortgage on her home, and then stole her assets - she was unable to repay, as a result of the actions of the defendants.
The defendants chose vulnerable victims in their 80s and 90s, who had few or no relatives living nearby. This was easy for the attorney to find out and make sure during client sessions. The authorities allege that in many cases, the attorney and her co-conspirator stole the entire life savings of victims and used the stole funds for their personal expenses.
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