Sunday, March 23, 2014

Women from Northfield, Linwood accused of stealing assets of elderly

Lieberman & Van Holt
A Northfield attorney and a former Atlantic County social worker were supposed to help elderly clients with financial and legal services, but instead stole their money to buy cars, vacation homes and pay off six-digit credit card bills, according to charges announced Thursday.

Barbara Lieberman, 62, and Jan Van Holt, 57, of Linwood, were arrested Wednesday for taking more than $2.4 million from 10 victims beginning in 2006, acting Attorney General John Hoffman said. Nine of the victims — all from Atlantic County and in their 80s or 90s — have died. A Cape May Court House woman who allegedly had $20,000 taken from her is now 88 years old.

Two other women are charged with helping the enterprise, including Van Holt’s sister, Sondra Steen, 58, of Linwood. The fourth woman, Susan Hamlett, was the one who sparked the investigation, said her attorney, Stephen Funk.

“It is, therefore, somewhat baffling that she is included in this indictment,” he said. “She is a conscientious employee, not a criminal.”

Hamlett worked for Van Holt’s A Better Choice, an in-home senior service that offered nonmedical help to seniors, including legal and financial planning.

Van Holt and Lieberman allegedly referred clients to one another, targeting seniors with substantial assets and no immediate family.

Van Holt even used her former position with Atlantic County Adult Protective Services, which she left in 2006, to find at least one victim, according to the charges. A 94-year-old died in a nursing home because she could no longer afford the payments on her Ventnor home after Steen allegedly took out a $195,000 reverse mortgage, claiming to be the woman’s niece.

“These defendants were wolves in sheep’s clothing,” said Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “(They entered) the lives of their vulnerable victims as caregivers, only to shamelessly steal all they owned.

Lieberman — a leading specialist in elder law in Atlantic County — met one of her alleged victims while giving a legal seminar to seniors at Atlantic City’s Jeffries Tower, where the woman lived. The woman lost $320,000 after hiring Van Holt, who then got power of attorney and was named executrix of the woman’s will. She continued to be robbed even after her death in an Atlantic City nursing home, according to the charges.

Lieberman would prepare powers of attorney and draft wills for the victims, giving herself or one of the other defendants power of attorney in some cases, according to the charges. She even transferred some of the victims’ money into her Interest on Lawyers Trust Account — which is supposed to be maintained as a safeguard for funds entrusted to lawyers. Checks from that account were allegedly then cut to Lieberman or one of the other defendants.

Full Article & Source:
Women from Northfield, Linwood accused of stealing assets of elderly


Thelma said...

A lawyer and a social worker; now that's a scary combo. Together they can do a lot of damage.

Anonymous said...

"Van Holt even used her former position with Atlantic County Adult Protective Services, which she left in 2006, to find at least one victim, according to the charges."

Not sure why APS ripping off an elderly person should surprise anybody.

In Virginia Beach, our corrupt Adult Protective Services workers, corrupt city attorney's office, corrupt Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia public guardianship program, and corrupt guardian ad litem dumped an elderly lady in a Scott Schuett adult home for seven agonizing months, in direct violation of a court order.

APS not only instigated this travesty, its only legal maneuver was to try to cheat this lady, ironically a retired APS worker, out of an attorney, so she would have no access to the court to rectify this abuse of power.

And what did the Virginia Department for the Aging and the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board do when this travesty came to their attention? Cover it up. Shoot the messenger. Commit character assassination against the party who reported it and all who were concerned about this lady. Spread the lies of these corrupt agencies DARS is supposed to overseee and sweep everything under the rug.

If the agencies that are supposed to be protecting these victims won't do their jobs, they should be de-funded. Sad but true, the victims would be safer without this "protection."

Rachel said...

I bet that combo occurs quite often, Thelma.

NASGA Illinois Member said...

I agree Anonymous I am not surprised at this news item what surprises me is the covering up, by state agencies I have the same complaints different circumstances where Illinois Department of Public Health failed to protect and discover the truth case of the resident of nursing home facility IDPH accepting outrageous excuses as to how the resident was injured the excuse blaming the resident does not fit the injuries unless the wheelchair bound 90 year old resident had periods of being a gymnast. We have photos of the resident and all the documents to state agencies and their responses via USPS certified mail finding no fault with the facility with signature card to show who knew what, what did they know and what if anything they did about it elephant tracks to show who is covering up hiding serious incidents - why?

You be the judge and remember you are looking in a mirror here - open your eyes: we're next so get ready.

Anonymous said...

No surprise here in NJ Guardians can take up 11% of a person;s assets not income a year ...... Donald Vanarelli prides himself on educating attorneys on how easy it is to take the money after all the law says they can if the judges and the system help them drag people through the courts and put them under illegal guardianships he does not view this as stealing. He is connected Social Workers etc ...he used to work for Social Security .....

Ken Martin said...

Get this! Barbara Lieberman was on the Attorney Ethics Committee in Atlantic County NJ!! She was a Court Appointed Temp. Guardian by Judge William C Todd III, whom Todd appoints on a regular basis. They should charge all of them via the RICO Statute (continuing criminal enterprise, just like they do for outlaw motorcycle gangs and the mafia.

Ken Martin said...

After speaking with the A.G., he advised us that Thomas Haynes is now picking up all of Lieberman's Wards, appointed by Judge Ray Batten. Haynes was the Advocate for Helen Hugo who did not push for a Jury Trial or honor her request to be present at her own incapacity trial, EVEN though Hugo requested in writing via letters to Haynes and Judge Todd! Motions were filed by myself and my wife's Attorney for both of these requests. Hugo was not given her personal clothing, shoes or prescription glasses and fell, breaking her hip. Haynes did not file a Tort Claim to preserve Hugo's rights to sue. I can imagine the job he will do for his new Wards. Additionally, I was informed by Paula Granuzzo, Head of the Attorney Ethics Committee that the complaint I filed against Lieberman back in 2012 was to no avail and Lieberman IS STILL OUT THERE PRACTICING LAW!!!

Ken Martin said...

Here is another eye-opener! The "system" is set up so that the County seizes all your assets and uses that money to pay the very attorneys that are having you put away!! This "system" MUST be changed!