TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a former New Jersey investment adviser has been indicted by a state grand jury for allegedly stealing a total of more than $100,000 from two clients, money that was supposed to be used to purchase annuities.
Janet Fooshee (aka Janet Katz, aka Janet Gurley), 60, currently of Maine, but who formerly lived in Morris County, was charged on Friday (Dec. 14) with theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, and three counts of impersonation (all in the second degree) as well as theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, and four counts of impersonation/theft of identity (all in the third degree). Fooshee was also charged with seven counts of fourth-degree forgery and eleven counts of fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records.
“This alleged crime deceived investors who trusted that the defendant was safely investing their money as she had represented,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said. “Such deceit will be vigorously prosecuted by my office.”
At the time of the alleged crime, Fooshee was an investment adviser representative of First Union Securities, which later became Wachovia Securities, Inc. The indictment alleges that between 2000 and December 2011, Fooshee stole a total of $107,493 from two clients. It is alleged that, in one instance, Fooshee stole $97,493 by falsely claiming to have purchased an annuity from AIG Life Insurance on a client’s behalf. In another instance, Fooshee allegedly stole $10,000 by giving the false impression that she purchased the same type of annuity from Fidelity Investments on another client’s behalf.
In an attempt to conceal and perpetuate the fraud, between 2005 and 2010 Fooshee allegedly sent numerous fabricated account statements on the letterhead of international financial institutions, including AIG, Alliance Bernstein, and Fidelity Investments. Each of these statements purported to show the annuities, which were not in fact purchased, appreciating in value.
An investigation determined that in each instance, when the clients attempted to cash out or transfer the annuities, they were unable to do so because the annuities had not actually been purchased.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker and Detective Doug Mattei coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked Investigator Kristen Mercer of the North Carolina Department of Insurance for her assistance in the investigation.