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NEWARK, N.J. – The business manager of a Morristown, New Jersey, assisted living facility has Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 12.47.14 been charged with exploiting her position to steal approximately $237,000 from an elderly victim under her care, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Marcella Drakeford, 45, of Jensen Beach, Florida, is charged with six counts of mail fraud. Drakeford was arrested today and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shaniek M. Maynard in federal court in Fort Pierce, Florida. She was indicted March 16, 2018, by a federal grand jury sitting in New Jersey and is scheduled to be arraigned April 4, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court.

According to the indictment:

Beginning in December 2016, Drakeford allegedly agreed to help manage her victim’s financial affairs and pay for her care. She was granted limited access to the victim’s checking account. Unbeknownst to victim or the victim’s guardian, Drakeford already had fraudulently gained access to the victim’s credit card account and had several cards issued in her name. Drakeford then used the credit cards for personal expenditures, including clothing, jewelry, and automobiles, dental work, rent, and utilities. Drakeford paid off the credit card bills with checks drawn on the victim’s checking account, all without permission. Drakeford allegedly defrauded the victim of approximately $237,000. 

Each count of mail fraud with which Drakeford is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Ruth M. Mendonca, for the investigation leading to the arrests. He also thanked the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, and the Morristown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Peter Demnitz, for their respective roles in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cyber Unit.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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