April 30, 2018
An Ocean County attorney who hosted a radio show on elder law faces multiple felony charges for the alleged theft of $1.9 million from six of his elderly clients, prosecutors announced Monday.
Robert Novy, 66, of Brick Township, N.J., was first arrested in 2016 after investigators executed a search warrant on the Manchester Township offices of Novy & Associates, LLC. An examination of suspicious financial transactions revealed Novy's alleged theft dated back to 2009.
An expert in elder law, Novy hosted a bi-monthly radio show, "Inside the Law," providing insight and tips on topics of concern to seniors.
Authorities alleged that Novy stole funds from elderly and deceased clients who didn't have a close relative to claim their estates. He would allegedly make himself the sole financial decision-maker for his clients by exploiting wills, powers of attorney and trust documents. When clients had sizable assets in the form of an annuity or life insurance policy, Novy is accused of directing insurance companies to redeem the policy and send funds directly to him.
In some cases, relatives or trustees close to clients challenged the withdrawal of certain funds. Novy would allegedly tell these individuals there had been an "administrative error" and then repay the funds.
“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,” said Elie Honig, director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
“We urge anyone with relevant information about Novy and his handling of client funds to contact our office.”
Novy is charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, money laundering and related offenses, authorities said. He faces steep fines and up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
“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 New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
“It is hard to imagine a more callous personal and professional betrayal."