The business manager of a Morris County assisted living facility admitted Wednesday that she stole $237,000 from an elderly patient and used it to buy fine clothing, jewelry, cars and more.
Marcella Drakeford, 46, of Jensen Beach, FL, also paid her rent and utilities, as well as bills for dental work with the victim’s money, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito added.
Drakeford -- formerly of Hackensack and Englewood -- got limited access to the victim’s checking account after agreeing in December 2016 to manage her financial affairs and pay for her care, the U.S. attorney said.
What neither the victim nor her guardian knew was that Drakeford already had access to the victim’s credit card account and had several cards issued in her name, Carpenito said.
She used the credit cards for her own personal use, then paid the bills with checks drawn on the victim’s account, he said.
Drakeford took a deal from the government, pleading guilty in federal court in Newark to mail fraud on Wednesday in exchange for leniency at sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden scheduled for July 22.
Carpenito credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Services for the investigation leading to the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder of his Cyber Unit.
He also thanked the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Morristown police.
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