Indictment: NJ man stole $305,000 from 90-year-old woman, leaving her broke
An Englishtown insurance salesman has been indicted on multiple counts of fraud and theft after allegedly stealing the $305,000 life savings of a 90-year-old woman — leaving the woman destitute.
Acting New Jersey Attorney General Robert Lougy said Robert Berlin, 46, began managing the Toms River woman's finances in 2010 after her daughter died.
Berlin helped place the woman in a private assisted living facility, and gained access to her personal funds, Lougy said. He allegedly liquidated $195,000 worth of annuity funds and sold off almost $111,000 worth of stocks over a four-year period.
After losing his license to sell insurance in 2010 for defrauding elderly clients, Berlin opened a Retro Fitness Gym in Wallington but continued to manage the woman's finances, Lougy said.
Lougy said Berlin made at least $7,000 in personal purchases — including airline tickets, pet care, gymnastic classes and after-school activities for his children. The indictment also charges him with passing a $13,000 bad check to pay the assisted living facility where the woman resided before she was evicted for non-payment.
Lougy said the woman is now destitute and accepting public assistance.
“If these allegations are true, Robert Berlin mercilessly victimized an elderly woman who trusted him with her life savings," Lougy said. "Instead of protecting her financial well-being, he allegedly helped himself to her money, leaving her penniless and dependent on public assistance."
Berlin is also charged with accepting $50,000 loan from a Toms River couple he met through the elderly woman for renovations to the gym — and never paying it back.
The indictment charges Berlin with two counts of theft by unlawful taking (in the second and third degrees), two counts of theft by deception (in the second and third degrees), theft by failure to make required dispensation of property received (in the second degree), passing bad checks (in the third degree degree) and fraudulent use of credit cards (in the third degree).