NJ man who stole $225K from mother also set fire to 6 vehicles, authorities say
In addition to being charged with stealing $225,000 from his mother, a 45-year-old Jersey City man is also facing arson charges.
According to NJ Advance Media, Angel Fontaina has been charged with four counts of arson. The charges stem from incidents on May 24 and 25 during which, authorities say, he set fire to four vehicles near his home in Jersey City.
The charges were brought against Fontaina on Friday. The suspect is already in custody in Hudson County Jail on several charges including forgery and identity theft in connection with allegations that he stole $225,000 from his 85-year-old mother's annuity accounts, according to Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
In a press release, Hoffman said Fontaina, who lives with his mother, "siphoned money from the accounts through 10 withdrawals made between June 2014 and October 2014."
Fontaina initially withdrew $35,000 by submitting a fake withdrawal form to the New York Life office, authorities said. The suspect then made nine more withdrawals through phone calls during which he attempted to impersonate his elderly mother. In total, he withdrew $225,927 and deposited the money into a bank account under his own name.
According to the press release, New York Life flagged the charges as suspicious and launched an investigation, which was then referred tot he Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. Authorities say his mother was unaware of the withdrawals.
"The state alleges that Fontaina promised to return the money to the accounts but the check he wrote to return the money was bad," the attorney general's press release states.
Fontaina was charged with theft by deception, identity theft, and passing bad checks, all in the second degree. He was also charged with three counts of fourth-degree forgery.
"Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000; fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine," the attorney general's office states
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.