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8/16/2013 9:24:00 AM
Damariscotta Couple Faces New Charges in New Jersey Fraud Case
Janet Fooshee
Janet Fooshee
Richard Fooshee
Richard Fooshee
By J.W. Oliver

A 61-year-old Damariscotta woman, a former investment adviser facing felony theft charges in New Jersey, now faces new charges of allegedly misappropriating and stealing $342,533.

A New Jersey grand jury indicted Janet Fooshee Aug. 12 on charges of second-degree conspiracy, misapplication of entrusted property, theft by unlawful taking, theft of identity and two counts each of money laundering and securities fraud.

Janet Fooshee's husband, attorney Richard Fooshee, 62, also of Damariscotta, now faces charges as well.

The new charges accuse Janet Fooshee of stealing $151,004 from clients and from a retirement community for whom she was a volunteer bookkeeper, and depositing the money into other clients' accounts to conceal losses between 2006 and 2012.

She allegedly sent fictitious account statements to clients on the letterhead of major financial institutions, overstating the value of client accounts by a total of $1,244,900 "in an effort to perpetuate the fraud," according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

She allegedly stole the identity of the institutions, which include AIG Life Insurance Company, Alliance Bernstein, Bank of America Corp., Dreyfus, Fidelity Investments, ING, JMB Realty Corporation, Transamerica Life Insurance Company and Wells Fargo & Co.

The Fooshees also allegedly misappropriated $191,529 in client fees from March 2009, when New Jersey barred Janet Fooshee from acting as an investment adviser in the state, to February 2013.

Richard Fooshee faces charges of second-degree conspiracy, money laundering and securities fraud.

The attorney allegedly conspired with his wife to enable her to continue acting as an investment adviser after March 2009 by depositing client payments in his personal bank accounts or a joint account.

"Hardworking New Jersey residents should be able to invest their money without fear that unethical investment advisers will pilfer their funds," New Jersey acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a statement.

The recent indictment "charges that Fooshee not only stole and/or misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars from her clients, but also stole the identities of financial institutions in an attempt to cover up her criminal activity," Hoffman said.

The recent indictment "is a result of public vigilance," acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said. "The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor received numerous tips after the initial indictment against Fooshee was publicized in December."

The office encourages people who have information about insurance cheating and fraud to report it anonymously by calling its toll-free hotline at 877-55-FRAUD.

Janet Fooshee, aka Janet Gurley, Janet Gurley-Katz and Janet Katz, formerly of Morris County, N.J., was an investment adviser with Wachovia Securities Inc. before founding Janet Gurley Katz LLC in 2003.

The new charges follow a December 2012 indictment on 29 second-, third- and fourth-degree charges.

The December indictment charges Janet Fooshee with second- and third-degree theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and theft of identity; fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records and fourth-degree forgery. Those charges remain pending.

Fooshee allegedly defrauded two clients of a total of $107,493 in the initial case.

The Fooshees could not be reached for comment.

Second-, third- and fourth-degree crimes in New Jersey carry maximum sentences of 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, five years and $15,000 and 18 months and $10,000, respectively.

Chillemi, the acting insurance fraud prosecutor, commended and thanked local authorities for "invaluable assistance and support," including Sheriff Todd Brackett, Lt. Rand Maker, Lt. Michael Murphy, Detective Sgt. Ronald Rollins and Deputies Chad Gilbert and Eleanor Grover, all of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office; and Patrol Officers Michael Elwell and Devin Polizzotti of the Damariscotta Police Department.

The Damariscotta Police Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office executed a search warrant at the Fooshees' Bristol Road residence Jan. 31.

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