Joint Investigation By Division of Consumer Affairs
and Medford Police Leads to Arrest of Registered
Nurse; $680,000 Allegedly Stolen from Elderly
NEWARK – A joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and State Division of Consumer Affairs, and the Medford Police Department, led to the arrest of a registered nurse, charged with stealing approximately $682,000 from her elderly client’s bank accounts over the course of approximately one year.
Medford Police arrested Mariejo J. Cherestal, 45, of Medford, at her home on February 1 as a result of the investigation. She is charged with theft by deception. The joint investigation began when Medford Police notified the State Division of Consumer Affairs and its Enforcement Bureau about suspicions regarding checks apparently written to Cherestal, but under a different name, from the client’s bank account.
“This arrest is a shining example of the commitment by New Jersey’s law enforcement community, to share intelligence and resources at the state and local levels in order to protect our citizens from theft and fraud,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “Crimes against the vulnerable are particularly unconscionable, and I commend those who worked together on this investigation.”
Investigators from the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau investigated and learned that numerous checks in amounts from $200 to $20,000 had been issued to Cherestal under the names of “M. Joyce Victor,” “Mariejo J. Cherestal,” and “Mariejo Joyce Cherestal.”
“Today, anyone who attempts to take advantage of the elderly by posing as a trusted caretaker, should be on high alert. The State will not stand for crimes like this, and will use all the resources at our disposal – including our partnerships with local police – to find the facts and bring perpetrators to justice,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Consumers who wish to hire a health care service firm to perform personal care should first make certain the agency is registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs. Consumers can check whether a health care service is registered via a listing on the Division’s website, at http://njconsumeraffairs.gov/ocp/agency.pdf.
The Division of Consumer Affairs is seeking other past clients of Cherestal, who has also used the name Mariejo Constant. Consumers who wish to file a complaint in connection with this action can contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at 856-482-4360.