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Woman accused of scamming Bergen’s elite given more time to make restitution

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: A judge today allowed a woman accused of swindling Alpine philanthropist Lenora Klein, Englewood restaurant owner Carlo Bartolomeo and Bergenfield photographer/writer Elizabeth R. Burchard, among others, more time to raise some cash to make “meaningful restitution” to them.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Brian Lynch told Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian this morning that ongoing plea negotiations “have not been fruitful.”

“We’re looking for some more meaningful restitution” before coming up with how much jail time, fines or combination of both that authorities would be willing to agree to, said Lynch, who heads his office’s White Collar Crimes Unit.

After a brief conference with attorneys for both sides, Jerejian told them to be back in court on Nov. 12.

A July indictment accuses Predovan of taking $450,000 as part of a Ponzi scheme from late 2005 until nearly the end of 2011.

Prosecutors said she told investors she worked for financier George Sorros in the 1980s. So detectives checked with Sorros, a Hungarian-American octogenarian business magnate, investor and philanthropist known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” because of his $1 billion in investment profits during the United Kingdom’s 1992 “Black Wednesday” currency crisis.

But Sorros, who has donated more than $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes, said he’d never heard of Predovan, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.

Predovan, of Manahawkin, has been free on $50,000 bail since a week after her May 10, 2012 arrest.

She originally was arrested by Alpine police on theft and forgery charges after she allegedly victimized Klein and her husband, John.

The case was turned over to Molinelli’s detectives, who unraveled what they said became a much larger scheme involving victims in Closter and Glen Rock, as well. CLIFFVIEW PILOT initially kept information of the initial arrest secret so that the investigation could progress.

Besides pocketing money, the indictment alleges Predovan cashed $36,000 in worthless checks and gained control over at least one victim’s credit card.

STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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