TRENTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Al Garcia announced today that an Essex County man has been indicted on charges related to the financial exploitation of a 90-year-old woman, after the suspect allegedly abused his authority over her finances to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.
John Boston, 47, of Verona, New Jersey, has been indicted by a state grand jury on one count of theft (2nd degree) and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition (2nd degree), following an investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s (OIFP) Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). The investigation began after a referral from the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. At his arraignment last month in state Superior Court in Essex County, Boston pleaded not guilty.
According to the investigation, Boston, a registered financial advisor at the time, signed a contract with the victim, agreeing to assist in managing her affairs and assets. However, the defendant never obtained authorization from his employer to take on the victim as a client, failed to notify his employer and failed to register the victim as a client, as required by the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Boston then signed a durable financial power of attorney with the then-90-year-old victim on or about June 27, 2017, and it is alleged that through a series of transactions, including ATM withdrawals and bank transfers, Boston diverted more than $75,000 from the victim. It is alleged that Boston used his own debit card to withdraw the money and spent it on his own bills and purchases for himself and his family. Meanwhile, according to the investigation, he defaulted on the victim’s bills and neglected her care and wellbeing.
“Victimizing our senior citizens under the guise of providing professional services occurs too often, and the effects on the victims and their families can be devastating,” said Attorney General Platkin. “No one should have to fear losing their life’s savings or their home because someone purporting to be a professional violated their duty and trust. We will continue to hold accountable those who commit elder abuse.”
“We have resources in place whose sole mission is to eradicate this type of exploitation,” said Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia. “We are steadfast in investigating and prosecuting these cases. If you target our elderly, you will get caught, and you will face justice.”
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Krayn is prosecuting the case for the OIFP – MFCU, under the supervision of Assistant Bureau Chief Michael Klein and Bureau Chief Heather Hadley. Detectives Little Trenard and Chantel Blake led the investigation, under the supervision of Lt. Jarek Pyrzanowski, Lt. Joseph Jaruszewski and Deputy Chief Rich King. Investigator SeRonne Anderson and Analyst Keira McRae-Wiggins also played integral roles in the investigation. Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia thanked his staff for their work on this case, and to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the referral.
New Jersey MFCU’s total funding for federal fiscal year (FY) 2023 is $9,418,641. Of that total, 75 percent, or $7,063,984, is awarded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $2,354,657 for FY 2023, is funded by the State of New Jersey.
OIFP’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit specifically protects Medicaid beneficiaries and the Medicaid Program from fraud, waste, and abuse. Further, the Unit may review complaints of abuse or neglect of patients or residents in care facilities regardless of the funding source. To report fraud, abuse or neglect, please email NJMFCU@njdcj.org or call 609-292-1272. If you are concerned about insurance cheating in general, and have information about insurance fraud, you can report fraud anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to eligible persons who provide information that leads to an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for insurance fraud.
Defense Attorney: Dennis Clearly, Esq. of West Orange