Robert Novy’s website says he “derives tremendous satisfaction” from helping elderly clients, but the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office says the lawyer, who also served on state commissions for the elderly, stole more than $1.2 million from them.
Prosecutors say his four victims included at least three octogenarians and at least two people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Novy stole more than $500,000 from one elderly woman, according to prosecutors, funneling $300,000 into company accounts and writing himself a personal check for $250,000.
“While Novy held himself out as a leading legal advocate for the elderly, we allege that he corruptly used his reputation and his law license to prey on vulnerable seniors, taking control of their finances and stealing more than $1 million from their life savings.” New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said. “In his greed, Novy not only betrayed his oath as a lawyer to uphold the law, he betrayed all standards of decency.”
An 87-year-old woman also lost nearly $500,000 to Novy, according to prosecutors. “He claimed part of the money was attorneys’ fees and power of attorney fees, but he did not justify those huge fees,” prosecutors said.
Another 85-year-old woman allegedly lost $176,000 to Novy, who allegedly deposited $60,000 of her cash into his personal accounts using cashiers checks and another $117,000 to company accounts for “power of attorney fees.”
The fourth alleged victim, an 88-year-old woman suffering from dementia, was billed $78,000, a sum that was “not supported by any invoice or records showing justification.”
Novy’s wife, Catherine, declined to comment or provide the name of the attorney representing Novy.
A video posted to Novy’s website, however, touted him as a passionate elder care advocate who went far beyond the typical confines of elder law. He went so far as to arrange caretakers and pay bills for clients, the video said.
“Rob Novy is not only a great attorney, but he’s a very compassionate man, a man who spends the time with his clients to make sure they understand all the intricacies of what is involved,” Vito Nardelli, a former vice president of a local bank, said in the video testimonial.
He was also appointed to state commissions on Alzheimer’s and aging, according to the video. (The New Jersey Division of Aging Services did not return a request for comment.)
And New Jersey resident Carl Koyi wrote an impassioned post supporting Novy after the charges were announced, noting that he had “done more for this county and hospitals than you can imagine.”
“If I know him. he’s going to straighten all this out, He will rise above it. and it’s only going to make him stronger,” Koyi wrote. “Robert novy is the best citizen in Ocean County. that I know, and I know a lot of people.”
But a judge decided to err on the side of caution. Novy’s bail was set at $500,000, and a court froze $3.5 million in assets held by Novy and the firm. If convicted, Novy faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
His attorney, Gerald Krovatin, did not respond to a request for comment.