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I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Former Atlantic Co. Employees In Court; Accused Of Bilking Seniors

By Charlotte Huffman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Two former Atlantic County employees pled not guilty Tuesday morning to charges of conspiracy, money laundering and theft.

Jan Van Holt, 58, and William Price, 57, both of Linwood, were arraigned in Atlantic County for their alleged involvement in a 10 year-long conspiracy to steal seniors' life savings.

Van Holt and Price are part of a group of six who investigators say conspired to steal $3.8 million dollars from at least 16 victims.

Others indicted in the case include Van Holt's sister, Sondra Steen, 59, of Linwood; and Susan Hamlett, 56, of Egg Harbor Township.

Dr. Maria Teresa Daclan, 53, of Galloway Township was indicted for allegedly lying to a detective to protect Van Holt.

The sixth person, Barbara Lieberman is already behind bars. She previously pled guilty and agreed to forfeit $3 million in restitution and testify against the others accused.

In March, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Michael Donio called Lieberman the "quarterback" of the ring of alleged scam artists and sentenced her to ten years in prison.

The CBS Philly I-Team first exposed Lieberman during an I-Team exclusive special report last November.

Lieberman, of Northfield, was a court appointed guardian and leading specialist in elder law in Atlantic County.

Van Holt owned "A Better Choice," a senior care company that offered clients in-home services including "custom designed life care and legal financial planning."

Steen and Hamlett worked for Van Holt's company.

Investigators say the group posed as trustworthy caregivers who took control of the finances of their victims by forging a power of attorney or obtaining one on false pretenses, adding their names to the victims' bank accounts or transferring the victims' funds into new accounts they controlled.

Ultimately, investigators believe the group stole $3.8 million and used the money to pay off six-digit credit card bills and buy things like Lieberman's new BMW and a luxury condo in Florida.

Investigators say Van Holt and Lieberman used their positions of trust within the county to identify their victims.

"Most of these people didn't have the capacity to keep an eye on their money and their assets so they were taken advantage of in that way. They looked for people who were elderly and had assets," said Deputy Attorney General, Yvonne Maher who is handling the prosecution of the defendants on behalf of the state's Division of Criminal Justice.

Maher says Lieberman would recommend clients to Van Holt's company and vice versa.

An investigation by New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice has revealed at least 16 victims. With the exception of one, all of the victims are dead.

If you suspect that you or a family member have been victimized you can call the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice's tip line toll free at 866-TIPS-4CJ.

For more information about stopping guardian abuse visit the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse.

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