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Mahwah Financial Advisor Siphoned $1 Million From 98-Year-Old Widow's Account, State Says

"“Unfortunately, older adults remain a top target of investment fraud and of financial abuse more generally."
"“Unfortunately, older adults remain a top target of investment fraud and of financial abuse more generally." Photo Credit:

A financial adviser from Mahwah pocketed nearly $700,000 and diverted another $300,000 or so of a 98-year-old widow’s money, said state authorities who stripped him of his ability to operate any longer in New Jersey.

John Joseph Cahill, 71, used the woman’s bank account to write and cash $693,990 worth of checks, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said Friday.

Cahill also used the account to pay his daughter, his wife, and various others more than $300,000 to provide unexplained services to the woman, the attorney general said.

Cahill had been granted power of attorney for the victim, who’d been customer of his at a prior firm, Grewal said.

Cahill was a broker with Morgan Stanley in Paramus from 1984 to 2005 and then again from 2009 to 2013, according to an FINRA website.

He was allowed to resign after settling a customer’s claims that he made unsuitable investments without notice, records show.

Cahill joined Janney Montgomery Scott in Upper Saddle River soon after.

He was terminated in 2019, however, after the widow’s court-appointed guardian complained that Cahill used his power of attorney for his own financial benefit, Grewal said.

Cahill had failed to report his fiduciary relationship with the woman to Janney, the attorney general said.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as a result, barred Cahill from the securities industry last year.

The authority wrote in a letter of acceptance that Cahill violated its rules by “refusing to provide documents and information” or requested testimony about “potential commingling and/or conversion of funds belonging to an elderly individual who was [his] customer at his prior FINRA member firm employer.”

Cahill reportedly signed the FINRA acceptance letter this past December without admitting or denying the findings.

This week, New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Securities Chief Christopher W. Gerold revoked Cahill’s agent registration for “engaging in dishonest or unethical practices in the securities business.”

“As these cases illustrate, even financial advisers who are known and believed to be trustworthy can use their positions of trust to fraudulently solicit money from their senior clients,” Gerold said Friday.

“This is why it is critical that senior investors, and their caregivers if they have any, remain vigilant and take steps to protect their assets no matter who is overseeing them," he said.

Deputy Bureau Chief Amy Kopleton and Investigator Irwin Slotnick investigated Cahill, Grewal said.

“By stopping this unlawful conduct and holding these bad actors accountable, we are sending a clear message that we will not allow our older residents to be financially exploited,” the attorney general said.


ALSO SEE: A once-renowned Bergen County businessman who has had more than his share of publicized predicaments is now in hot water with the IRS.


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