NEWARK, N.J. – The former business manager of a Morris County, New Jersey, assisted living facility was sentenced today to 27 months in prison for stealing approximately $237,000 from an elderly victim under her care, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Marcella Drakeford, 46, most recently of Fort Pierce, Florida, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to Count One of an indictment charging her with mail fraud. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
Beginning in December 2016, Drakeford 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 the 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, 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.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced Drakeford to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution of $237,258.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. 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 Acting Police Chief Darnell Richardson, for their work on the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime Unit.
On Oct. 4, 2019, the Department of Justice unveiled a new public service announcement created in collaboration with AARP and the Oak Ridge Boys to raise awareness about fraud schemes targeting older Americans.
Defense counsel: David Holman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark