Lawyer gets 10-year sentence for role in stealing $3.8M from elderly victims
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A New Jersey lawyer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for her part in a scheme to steal $3.8 million from 16 elderly victims.
Barbara Lieberman, a court-appointed guardian and elder law specialist in Atlantic County who gave seminars to senior citizens on end-of-life issues and other matters, used her position of trust to identify potential victims with substantial assets and no family to protect them, CBS Philly reports.
“This is why people don’t trust lawyers … because of one lawyer’s decision to line her own pockets at the expense of elderly victims who were unable to defend themselves,” Superior Court Judge Michael Donio said Wednesday at Lieberman’s sentencing hearing.
Lieberman said she was sorry. “I am to blame, your honor.”
“Nobody could be more dismayed, disappointed or disgusted by these actions than this court,” Donio said.
Lieberman is one of five people so far who have been implicated in the scheme, which is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the state Division of Criminal Justice.
Prosecutors say the group took control of the finances of their victims by forging a power of attorney or obtaining one under false pretenses. They then added their names to the victims’ bank accounts and transferred the victims’ funds into accounts they controlled.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Lieberman has agreed to pay $3 million in restitution and testify against her co-defendants.
Deputy Attorney General Yvonne Maher, who prosecuted the case, said Lieberman “got what she deserved.”