Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prominent Ocean County lawyer charged with misappropriating client funds

The managing partner of a Manchester based law firm that specializes in Elder Law has been accused by the Office of Attorney Ethics, the New Jersey Supreme Court's disciplinary agency, of overcharging two of his clients and misappropriating funds from their accounts over which he had control.

The attorney, Robert C. Novy, of Novy & Associates, was accused in a formal complaint of improperly taking $117,000 from the estate of one of his clients during 2012 and 2013 for "Power of Attorney Services" and for withdrawing $34,822 from the client's bank account and depositing those funds into his personal account.  In another matter, he was accused of diverting $240,000 into his attorney trust account when those funds were supposed to be deposited with a corporate trustee.

Novy, through Morristown attorney Graham Curtin, answered the ethics charges on March 10, 2016.  In his answer, Novy claimed that all his actions were done to advance his clients' interests, that he did not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct and that he acted under his clients' instructions at all times.

The charges are only allegations--nothing has yet been proven.  Novy has demanded a hearing and the burden is on ethics authorities to prove that Novy violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by clear and convincing evidence.

Anyone who is interested in being notified in advance of any hearings on this matter may complete and send a hearing request form to the Office of Attorney Ethics in care of Barbara Cristofaro via fax to 609-530-5238.  Since 1995, attorney disciplinary hearings have been open to the public.