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Press Release

Former Business Manager Of Assisted Living Facility Admits Stealing Almost A Quarter Million Dollars From Elderly Victim

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – The business manager of a Morris County, New Jersey, assisted living facility today admitted that she exploited her position to steal approximately $237,000 from an elderly victim under her care, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Marcella Drakeford, 46, of Jensen Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to Count One of an indictment charging her with mail fraud.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Beginning in December 2016, Drakeford allegedly agreed to help manage her victim’s financial affairs and pay for her care. She was granted limited access to the victim’s checking account. Unbeknownst to victim or the victim’s guardian, Drakeford already had fraudulently gained access to the victim’s credit card account and had several cards issued in her name. Drakeford then used the credit cards for personal expenditures, including luxury clothing, jewelry, and automobiles, dental work, rent, and utilities. Drakeford paid off the credit card bills with checks drawn on the victim’s checking account, all without permission.

The charge of mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for July 22, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Services under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, and the Morristown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Peter Demnitz, for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cyber Unit.

Defense counsel: David Holman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Updated April 17, 2019

Elder Justice