The former business manager of the Spring Hills Morristown assisted living facility has been sentenced to 27 months in jail for stealing $237,258 from an elderly resident.
Marcella Drakeford, 46, most recently of Fort Pierce, FL, also must repay the money and will be subject to three years of supervision upon release from prison, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Drakeford agreed in December 2016 to help manage her victim’s financial affairs and pay for her care, with limited access to the victim’s checking account, authorities said.
But Drakeford already had fraudulent access to the woman’s credit card account, and obtained several more cards issued in the woman’s name. Drakeford then lived large, buying herself luxury clothes, jewelry and cars, while covering her dental work, rent and utilities, too.
She paid off the credit card bills with checks drawn on the victim’s account–without permission of the victim or her guardian, according to Carpenito.
Drakeford pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and was sentenced this week by Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court.
Carpenito credited the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for the investigation, and thanked the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Morristown police for assisting.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder, chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime Unit, prosecuted the case. Assistant Federal Public Defender David Holman represented Drakeford.
This month the Department of Justice issued a public service announcement with the Oak Ridge Boys and the AARP warning about fraud schemes targeting seniors: