Ocean County elder law attorney and Republican donor Robert C. Novy, managing partner of the Manchester firm Novy & Associates is facing ethics charges accusing him of knowingly misappropriating the funds of elderly clients.
Novy Accused Of Commingling Personal And Client Funds
The complaint, filed by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, alleges that Mr. Novy took $117,000 from the estate of a client in 2012 and 2013. According to the complaint, on another occasion, he allegedly withdrew $34,822 from the client’s bank account and deposited the cash in his personal bank account.
Commingling personal and client funds is a big no-no under New Jersey’s Rules of Professional Conduct, which all licensed attorneys must follow upon admission to practice.
For a different client, Mr. Novy was further accused of taking $240,000 and depositing it to his attorney trust account, when they were instead required to be deposited with a corporate trustee. In the answer to the complaint, Novy claims to have had no prior disciplinary history since being admitted to practice in 1976.
Allegations Disputed, Disciplinary Hearings To Be Held
Mr. Novy, who is also the host of WOBM-AM radio show “Inside the Law” is being represented by Morristown attorney Thomas Curtin in the disciplinary proceedings. Mr. Curtin filed an answer to the complaint, and in the the answer claims that the financial transfers were “…not done intentionally or maliciously and were intended to be done in the interests of the client[s].”
Novy’s attorney additionally claims that Mr. Novy “did not knowingly violate” any rules of professional conduct, and that the Office of Attorney Ethics cannot sustain its burden of “clear and convincing evidence” to establish his guilt.
Further, Novy’s attorney contends that his client’s law firm changed their standard operating procedures to prevent such an incident from occurring in the future.
You can read the full complaint and answer here. Ocean County Politics will cover the future public disclipinary hearings that will be held in this matter along with their outcome. Novy has yet to be convicted of any violation or any crime in this matter.
The public documents revealing the allegations were first obtained by New Jersey Foundation for Open Government board member John Paff.