Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sisters Who Ran Senior Care Company In Atlantic County Indicted on Conspiring Charges

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a state grand jury has indicted the owner of an in-home senior care company in Atlantic County and her sister on first-degree charges of conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly conspiring with a lawyer to steal over $2.7 million from a dozen elderly clients.

The indictment, handed up late yesterday, also charges three other people: an employee of their company who allegedly conspired with them to steal from one client; a former caseworker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services who allegedly conspired with them to steal from an elderly couple; and a doctor who allegedly lied to the State Police during the investigation.The lawyer, Barbara Lieberman, 63, of Northfield, who specialized in elder law in Atlantic County, pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 to first-degree money laundering and faces a recommended sentence of 10 years in state prison, including 3 ½ years of parole ineligibility. She forfeited $3 million in assets seized from her and her husband, as well as her law license. She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25.

The Division of Criminal Justice yesterday obtained an 11-count state grand jury indictment charging these five defendants as follows:
  1. Jan Van Holt, 58, of Linwood, owner of “A Better Choice,” a company that offered elderly clients in-home “life care and legal financial planning.” Conspiracy (3 counts: two 1st degree and one 2nd degree), Money Laundering (3 counts: two 1st degree and one 2nd degree), Theft by Deception (3 counts: all 2nd degree) and Official Misconduct (2nd degree).
  2. Sondra Steen, 59, of Linwood, Van Holt’s sister, who helped run the company and assisted clients. Conspiracy (3 counts: two 1st degree and one 2nd degree), Money Laundering (3 counts: two 1st degree and one 2nd degree), Theft by Deception (3 counts: all 2nd degree) and Official Misconduct (2nd degree).
  3. Susan Hamlett, 56, of Egg Harbor Township, who worked as an aide for company clients. Conspiracy (2nd degree), Money Laundering (2nd degree) and Theft by Deception (2nd degree).
  4. William Price, 57, of Linwood, who was a caseworker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services when Van Holt was a county caseworker. Conspiracy (1st degree), Money Laundering (1st degree), Official Misconduct (2nd degree) and Theft by Deception (2nd degree).
  5. Dr. Maria Teresa S. Daclan, 53, of Galloway Township. Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution (3rd degree).
The charges stem from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Financial Crimes Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.

“Van Holt and Steen insinuated themselves into the lives of their elderly clients by posing as compassionate and trustworthy caregivers, all the while allegedly plotting to steal their life savings,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “In some cases, these sisters allegedly deprived their vulnerable victims of the ability to live out their final days in comfort and dignity, callously draining away the victims’ funds to pay for their own pets, swimming pool, expensive cars and Florida condo.”

“Con artists frequently target the elderly because of their vulnerability and accumulated assets,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This is a particularly egregious case of elder fraud because of the way in which Van Holt allegedly used her official position as a case worker for Adult Protective Services to identify victims to prey upon.”

“These individuals allegedly preyed on vulnerable, elderly victims and betrayed their trust, in order to funnel stolen money into their own greedy pockets,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This particular case of elder fraud is especially sinister, due to the conspiracy charges against so many defendants, who held such highly respected positions in society.”

Deputy Attorney General Yvonne G. Maher is prosecuting the case and presented it to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jill Mayer, who is Bureau Chief. Detective Richard Wheeler led the investigation for the New Jersey State Police Financial Crimes Unit. Deputy Attorney General Derek Miller is handling the state’s forfeiture action. Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the New Jersey Office of the Public Guardian for referring the case to the State Police.

It is alleged that Van Holt and Steen conspired with Lieberman to steal more than $2.7 million from 12 elderly clients between January 2003 and December 2012. Hamlett is charged in connection with a single client, a woman from whom Lieberman, Van Holt, Steen and Hamlett allegedly conspired to steal approximately $112,000. Price is charged in connection with an elderly couple he met through his job as a caseworker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services. Van Holt also was a county caseworker at the time, and Price allegedly conspired with Van Holt, Steen and Lieberman to steal more than $800,000 from the elderly couple and their estate. Price allegedly received $125,000 of the stolen funds.

Van Holt worked as a case worker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services from 2002 through December 2007, when she was terminated. Five of the alleged victims were recruited as clients after they came into contact with Van Holt through her official public position as a case worker. The official misconduct charge against Van Holt, Steen and Price relates to those victims.

It is alleged that Van Holt generally was the one to identify potential clients, approaching them to offer the services of A Better Choice and Lieberman. The defendants allegedly targeted elderly clients with substantial assets who typically did not have any immediate family, offering them non-medical care and services, including household chores, errands, driving clients to appointments, scheduling, budgeting, paying bills, balancing checkbooks, and other tasks. They did not provide healthcare services. Van Holt also created a company called “Elder Hospice,” but it was nothing more than a bank account.

Once a target accepted Van Holt’s offer of services, Steen usually would be put in place as the victim’s primary caregiver. In the case of the elderly couple connected to Price, Price also provided extensive assistance, particularly with household repairs. Lieberman would then be brought in to do legal work, preparing powers of attorney and wills for the clients. Lieberman was a leading specialist in elder law in Atlantic County who gave seminars to senior citizens on end of life affairs, wills and living wills.

The defendants allegedly took control of the finances of their victims by forging a power of attorney or obtaining one on false pretenses. The defendants then added their names to the victims’ bank accounts or transferred the victims’ funds into new accounts they controlled. Thereafter, the defendants allegedly stole from the accounts to pay their own expenses, including, for Van Holt and Steen – who lived together – veterinary bills for their pets, pool supplies, two Mercedes cars owned by Van Holt, and lease payments on a Florida condo.

A portion of the money was used to fund the victim’s continued expenses to keep the victim unaware of the thefts. In some cases, money from one victim would be transferred to another victim to pay expenses and cover up the thefts. If the victim owned stocks or bonds, they were cashed out and the funds were deposited into the account allegedly controlled by the defendants.

In one case, Steen allegedly posed as the niece of a 94-year-old woman and used a power of attorney to put a reverse mortgage for $195,000 on the victim’s home. In connection with the reverse mortgage, Dr. Daclan allegedly signed one or more letters for Van Holt related to the victim’s capacity to make financial decisions. In addition, Van Holt allegedly forged the doctor’s signature on a third letter. When a State Police detective asked Daclan about that third letter, Daclan allegedly lied in order to protect Van Holt, falsely claiming that she prepared and signed the letter. That is the basis for the charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution filed against Daclan.

When Lieberman prepared wills for the victims, she typically named herself or Van Holt as executor of the estate and named Steen as a beneficiary, or named other beneficiaries who had little or no ties to the victim and never actually received anything from the estate. The defendants allegedly relied on fraud, manipulation or forgery in the execution of the wills. In this manner, they allegedly continued to steal from the victims’ estates after they died.

Lieberman and Van Holt were arrested on March 19, 2014. Van Holt previously had been arrested with Steen and Hamlett on Dec. 20, 2012, in connection with one victim. The investigation began after the New Jersey Office of the Public Guardian referred the case of that one victim to the State Police.

First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $200,000. The first-degree money laundering charge carries a mandatory minimum term of parole ineligibility of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed. That charge also carries a criminal fine of up to $500,000, and an additional anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of up to $500,000 or three times the value of any property involved. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The second-degree charge of official misconduct carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years without possibility of parole. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Atlantic County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear at a later date for arraignment.

The indictment is posted with this press release at

Full Article & Source:
Sisters Who Ran Senior Care Company In Atlantic County Indicted on Conspiring Charges


Anonymous said...

Yay for New Jersey!! Great job. You are getting the job done . Wish I lived in New Jersey so you could help my mother . Proud of you ,New Jersey

NASGA said...

Readers: This story also involves guardianship. Barbara Lieberman was guardian of NASGA member Helen Hugo. Helen Hugo remains held in a facility against her will; she wants to live with her daughter.

How many more Helen Hugo's are out there? The investigations currently are not focused on the guardianships to our knowledge.

Meanwhile Helen Hugo remains confined against her will.

jerri said...

cowards give them the maximum x 100 these scumbags who are wearing costumes of professionals who are trusted cowardly crooks and liars who deserve to rot in their cages to come out in hefty bags just seeing their smirks raises my bp to explosive stage to react in appropriate manner with a spiked club cheap swift and permanent solution to these low life cowards that i will list here

Barbara Lieberman, Jan Van Holt, Susan Hamlett, Sondra Steen, William Price, Dr. Maria Teresa S. Daclan

and think of what they did that they got away with that gets me hotter and hotter

Douglas said...

We all suspect many greedy people scraping for their piece of the pie and this scheme is proof that it happens.

I am with Jerri that I hope they rot....

Betty said...

They had themselves a real sweet deal - until they got caught.

Tom said...

I bet they thought they'd never get caught!

Anonymous said...

My mother ,who never took anything but blood pressure pills has been forced into a locked unit ,given drugs she never needed that are harming her ,false medical reports written ,her assets taken and house sold. People who have known this stable, hard working, fair immigrant woman are shocked . But how do you fight a judge, false reports the continuous drugging to make my mothers mind go.... This is all known . By ALOT of people. She has begged to be out every single day. We need New Jersey in. Maryland to get my mother out . They know how to deal In New Jersey .

Anonymous said...

Boy they sure had a ring going. Guardianship abuse is a conspiracy as evidenced by this article.