MORRISTOWN — The former business manager of an assisted living facility for senior citizens was indicted on charges she stole $237,258 from a woman under her care.
Marcella Drakeford, 45, of Jensen Beach, Florida, was arrested Wednesday following her indictment March 16 on six counts of mail fraud by a federal grand jury in New Jersey.
The indictment alleges Drakeford stole from a client identified as C.B. by defrauding her using the U.S. Postal Service. According to court documents, Drakeford deposited "matters and things" sent and delivered by private and commercial interstate carriers. Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison upon conviction.
The indictment, announced in a release from Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, does not identify the Morristown assisted living facility where Drakeford formerly worked as business manager. But newsletters distributed by Spring Hills-Morristown Assisted Living in 2016 and 2017 list Marcella Drakeford as business manager of the facility on Spring Place. A call to Executive Director Karen Griffiths was not immediately returned Wednesday.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Drakeford in December 2016 allegedly agreed to help manage C.B.'s financial affairs and pay for her care. Drakeford was given limited access to the victim's checking account, but without the knowledge of the victim or her guardian, Drakeford already had fraudulently gained access to C.B.'s credit card account and had two cards issued in her name, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Drakeford allegedly used the credit cards to buy clothes, jewelry and cars and to travel, pay her rent and utilities and have dental work done, according to the Attorney's Office. She paid off the credit card bills with checks drawn on the victim's checking account, according to the indictment. The theft was calculated at $237,258 between October 2016 and May 2017, according to court records.
Court records show property Drakeford bought with the alleged stolen funds is subject to forfeiture to the government. The age of the victim was not included in the release.
After her arrest in Florida, Drakeford appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shaniek M. Maynard in federal court in Fort Pierce, Florida. Her arraignment on the indictment is scheduled for April 4 before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court.
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Former Morristown assisted-living facility manager charged with $237K theft