UNION, NJ – Kevin Collins, 58, of Union pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by unlawful taking in a hearing before Judge William Daniel in Union County Superior Court on Friday.
According to a press release from Acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP), Collins, a Union County insurance salesman, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $926,000 from the annuity accounts and insurance policies of an elderly man whose finances he managed.
Collins is set to be sentenced on September 2. The state will recommend an eight-year prison term. As part of his sentencing, Collins will be ordered to pay $926,455 in restitution to the elderly man whom he met through mutual friends.
Collins and the elderly man regularly golfed and went out for drinks together. Collins also assisted in driving him to hospital visits, as well as looking after his finances, according to the press release.
“What makes this crime particularly disgraceful is that Kevin Collins not only stole the savings of a vulnerable elderly man, he victimized someone who trusted him as a friend,” said Acting Attorney General Porrino. “Collins repaid that trust by stealing the finances he was supposed to be managing for his so-called buddy.”
“The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is committed to bringing to justice anyone who deprives the elderly of the right to enjoy their hard-earned savings in their golden years,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. “Putting Kevin Collins behind bars not only serves as just punishment, it sends a message to other would-be criminals that this kind of elder abuse will not be tolerated.”
In pleading guilty, Collins admitted that between 2009 and 2015 he withdrew monies from the elderly man’s annuities and life insurance policies. The man was alerted by one of the insurance companies about certain withdrawals of which he was unaware. Collins turned himself in and admitted his wrongdoing.
Deputy Attorney General Dennis Kwasnik represented the state at the plea hearing. Detective Janet Amberg coordinated the investigation. Ronald Ricci, of Ricci & Fava, LLC, represented Kevin Collins at the hearing.