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District Attorney

Posted on: September 22, 2015

Disbarred Attorney Arrested for Stealing More than $85,000 from Elderly Disabled Former Client

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Disbarred Attorney Arrested for Stealing More than $85,000 from Elderly Disabled Former Client Janice Jessup was indicted in April for separate case in which she allegedly stole $1.2 million from another disabled client MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a disbarred attorney from Charlotte, N.C., was arrested by DA Investigators for stealing more than $85,000 from a former client whom she helped secure a reverse mortgage. Janice Jessup, 68, surrendered to the DA’s office this morning and was charged with Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 2nd Degree (a D felony) and Falsifying Business Records in the 1st Degree (an E felony). Nassau County District Court Judge Paul Meli ordered that electronic monitoring of the defendant’s whereabouts be continued and Jessup was released on her own recognizance based on that condition. Jessup, who is also known by the married name Janice Jones, faces a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison and is due back in court on this case on September 25. Jessup was indicted by a Nassau County Grand Jury and arraigned on April 9 for Grand Larceny in the 1st Degree (a B felony) and Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree (an E felony). In that case it is alleged that the defendant stole $1.2 million from a physically and mentally disabled client who was owed money from the eminent domain acquisition of her property. Jessup faces a maximum sentence of 8-1/3 to 25 years in prison on those charges and is due back in court for that case on September 25 before Acting Supreme Court Justice Jerald Carter. “This disbarred attorney allegedly stole from an 85 year-old woman and used the money to buy limos and a vintage Corvette,” Acting DA Singas said. “Stealing is always wrong, but stealing from the elderly is especially despicable, and we will aggressively prosecute this case.” Acting DA Singas said that Jessup was retained in 2008 by a then-85-year- old woman who sought to obtain a reverse mortgage on her home in Roosevelt. The defendant obtained the reverse mortgage that year, allegedly to help raise money to pay for the elderly woman’s care in a nursing facility the woman resided in. The defendant, however, was disbarred in August 2010 after she submitted her resignation while facing a disciplinary proceeding alleging a number of charges of professional misconduct. Despite that fact, the defendant obtained a power of attorney purportedly bearing the signature of her former client in November 2011 which gave the defendant the power to control the victim’s finances. Around January 2012, the defendant, using that power of attorney purportedly bearing the signature of the victim, filed an application with Wells Fargo Bank in the victim’s name requesting an additional line of credit. The defendant submitted a document to the bank falsely certifying that the victim continued to occupy the Roosevelt house as her primary residence despite the fact that the victim resided at a nursing care facility in Rockville Center since 2008. Shortly afterward, the defendant obtained additional reverse mortgage funding, with a line of credit of $47,467. The defendant then allegedly stole those funds as well as other funds owned by the victim in excess of $85,000. The stolen funds were primarily used to personally benefit the defendant and her then husband and his business Legacy Limousines, and as partial payment of the purchase price for a 1985 Chevrolet Corvette in the name of her then husband. The defendant is also alleged to have forged a check payable to Legacy Limousine which was purportedly signed by the son of the elderly disabled victim. The Nassau County Guardianship Program of Selfhelp Community Services, Inc., (Selfhelp), was appointed guardian of the victim in 2013 and continued an investigation initially commenced by the Medicaid Division of the Nassau County Department of Social Services. Selfhelp filed a complaint with the District Attorney’s office, which opened an investigation into the matter. In the Jessup’s other case, it is alleged that she was retained in 2007 by the family of a mentally and physically disabled woman to represent her in a $1.2 million eminent domain action involving property that was subsequently developed into the Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury. Jessup received the funds by court order as the attorney for her client in 2008. Jessup is alleged to have spent the money on various unauthorized personal, business and other expenses that included direct payments to herself and members of her family, as well as payments to other law clients of hers. Bureau Chief Marshall Trager and Assistant District Attorney Brian Heid of Acting DA Singas’ Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau are prosecuting both cases. Jessup is represented by Ira Weissman, Esq. The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

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