OCEAN COUNTY – Investigators continue to gather more information in the case against Robert Novy, an elder law attorney who allegedly stole more than $1.2 million from elderly clients.
Novy was charged in October for activities that allegedly happened between the years of 2010 and 2015. Some of these clients were suffering from dementia or did not have close family members to safeguard their interests. The charges were first-degree money laundering, second-degree theft by unlawful taking, and second-degree misapplication of entrusted property.
“The investigation is ongoing,” said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the New Jersey Attorney General’s office. “No additional charges have been filed at this point. Because the case involves indictable offenses, it will ultimately be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment. Additional charges may be filed at that time.”
Novy’s bail was reduced from $500,000 full cash to $350,000 bond approximately a week after he was arrested, Aseltine said. He posted bond using his Brick home as collateral and was released that day.
The Attorney General’s office had requested a trustee to oversee the business operations of Novy’s law firm. The court appointed Alan Staller, with Levine Staller in Atlantic City, to that post. The attorney general’s office did not comment about what the trustee learned while in this position.
They are still urging people with information about the case to call the confidential and free tipline at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Calls for comment to his attorney were not returned by press time. Novy is being represented by Gerald Krovatin, of Krovatin Klingeman, which bills itself as a “boutique white collar and litigation firm.”
His case before the state grand jury has not been given a date yet, according to Peter McAleer, spokesman for the New Jersey Supreme Court. They had not received any information regarding an indictment as of press time.
Meanwhile, Novy is also being investigated by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, which issued an ethics complaint against him on January 26, 2016. A hearing case was scheduled for the week of January 9 before the office of attorney ethics. According to the Supreme Court spokesman, that hearing was postponed and had not yet been rescheduled.
In addition to the arrest, detectives executed a search warrant at the offices of Novy & Associates, LLC, on Ridgeway Avenue in Manchester, seizing billing records and other evidence. The Attorney General’s office froze more than $3.5 million in assets held in various bank accounts of Novy and his firm.
The case had been referred to the Division of Criminal Justice by Ocean County Surrograte Jeffrey Moran.
He gathered some of his clients through educational seminars on topics of elder law and hosted a bi-monthly radio program called “Inside the Law.”
According to a press release from the Attorney General’s office that announced his charges, Novy allegedly laundered most of the funds through attorney trust accounts and attorney business accounts. He gained control over the funds through wills, powers of attorney, and trust documents, making himself the sole financial decision-maker for his clients. He also allegedly billed clients without any invoices, and directed insurance companies to redeem policies and send the money to him. The investigation includes:
He allegedly billed an 88-year-old woman suffering from dementia and her estate $78,000 that was not supported by any invoice or records.
He allegedly stole more than $176,000 from an 85-year-old woman who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. The charges state that he withdrew funds from her personal account, converting them into cashier’s checks and depositing them into his personal account. The charges include cashing out an annuity the woman had, depositing it into his trust account and then issuing checks from that account to his firm, claiming they were “power of attorney fees.”
He allegedly stole at least $459,000 from an 87-year-old woman. He deposited proceeds totaling roughly $387,000 from two annuities into his attorney trust account, and subsequently transferred those funds into his law firm’s business accounts. He claimed part of the money was for attorneys’ fees and power of attorney fees.
He allegedly stole nearly $550,000 from another elderly woman. He allegedly transferred nearly $300,000 that he held for her in his attorney trust account into the firm’s business accounts without any invoices or evidence that legal services were provided. On another occasion, Novy allegedly wrote himself a check for $250,000 from the woman’s personal bank account and deposited it into his own personal bank account.
Additionally, the Division of Criminal Justice was investigating suspicious transactions related to more than a dozen additional clients.