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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Insurance Salesman Who Embezzled His Client’s Inheritance Money Sentenced To Three Years In Prison

TRENTON, N.J. – An insurance salesman who was entrusted with managing his client’s inheritance was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for fraudulently using the funds for his own benefit, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Patrick McCullagh, 70, of Georgetown, Kentucky, was previously convicted of an indictment charging him with one count of wire fraud. He was convicted following an eight-day trial before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial: 

McCullagh was the principle of MidAtlantic Regional Services Inc., a purported insurance company located in Bordentown, New Jersey. In 2001, the victim entrusted McCullagh with money that the victim had inherited from his mother after her death. McCullagh falsely told the victim that he would use the funds to invest in a manner that would preserve the principle while paying the victim back in interest. 

Instead, McCullagh pocketed some of the funds directly and forged withdrawal requests so he could loot money from the victim’s investment accounts. In order to deceive the victim, McCullagh also had the victim’s account statements diverted from the victim’s address. 

In addition, the “interest” payments that McCullagh paid the victim on a monthly basis were actually funds McCullagh had siphoned from the investment accounts’ principle balance. McCullagh even fraudulently told the victim that some of the investments were tied-up in legal disputes surrounding a Kentucky property and that he needed money for legal fees, which the victim later provided. Altogether, McCullagh defrauded the victim out of more than $100,000.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cooper ordered McCullagh to serve one year of supervised release and pay restitution of $98,067.82.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Lorber and Senior Litigation Counsel Joseph Gribko of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

Defense counsel: James Patton Esq., Livingston, New Jersey

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-245
Updated July 18, 2018