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Posted Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The former business manager of a Morris County assisted living facility has been sentenced today to 27 months in prison for stealing approximately $237,000 from an elderly victim under her care, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.Morris County Prosecutor's Office seal

Marcella Drakeford, 46, most recently of Fort Pierce, Florida, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to Count One of an indictment charging her with mail fraud. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence this week in Newark federal court.

The name of the assisted living facility was not included in the complaint

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Beginning in December 2016, Drakeford agreed to help manage her victim’s financial affairs and pay for her care. She was granted limited access to the victim’s checking account. Unknown to the victim or the victim’s guardian, Drakeford already had fraudulently gained access to the victim’s credit card account and had several cards issued in her name.

Drakeford then used the credit cards for personal expenditures, including luxury clothing, jewelry, automobiles, dental work, rent, and utilities. Drakeford paid off the credit card bills with checks drawn on the victim’s checking account, all without permission.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced Drakeford to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution of $237,258.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, and the Morristown Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Chief Darnell Richardson, for their work on the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime Unit.