TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a financial advisor from West Orange was sentenced to prison today for stealing nearly $1 million from two elderly clients – a professor and a medical doctor who are brothers.
Randy Schneider, 44, of West Orange, was sentenced to six years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz in Morris County. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 12 to a second-degree charge of theft by unlawful taking. Under the plea agreement, Schneider executed a consent judgment to pay full restitution to his victims. Deputy Attorney General Janet Bosi handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
Schneider worked as a broker for Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., in Florham Park from January 2002 through October 2011, when the firm fired him after discovering he had misappropriated checks from one of the two victims. He previously was licensed by the state as a registered representative of the firm, but his state license was revoked by the Bureau of Securities.
An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice revealed that between 2004 and 2011, Schneider stole more than $900,000 from an elderly professor by stealing cash, interest from bearer bond coupons, and bonds belonging to him. Schneider stole the money and bonds from the client’s investment account at Oppenheimer, which Schneider handled. He stole an additional $20,000 in the same manner from that client’s younger brother, a medical doctor who also was a client at Oppenheimer. Schneider deposited bonds and proceeds from the bonds into his own accounts.
Schneider also pleaded guilty on Dec. 12 to third-degree charges of theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception filed by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for separate incidents that occurred after he was fired by Oppenheimer. Schneider stole $11,000 worth of jewelry from an ex-girlfriend and pawned it. In addition, he stole $26,000 from a bank by opening a new account with a fraudulent check and withdrawing the funds before the bank discovered his fraud. Judge Minkowitz sentenced Schneider to three years in prison for each of those charges, with the sentences to be served concurrently with the six-year sentence.
“This defendant is a common thief in a business suit,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “By stealing upwards of a million dollars from two vulnerable and trusting clients, he proved that a prison jumpsuit is the more appropriate attire for him.”
“By sending white collar criminals like Schneider to prison, we’re working to safeguard the investments of New Jersey residents, who count on their savings to pay for their children’s education and their own retirements,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge investors who believe that they have been defrauded by a broker to contact the Division of Criminal Justice or the Bureau of Securities.”
Detective Abraham Aquino and former Assistant Attorney General John Krayniak conducted the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. The criminal investigation began with a referral from the New Jersey Bureau of Securities. Investigator Thomas Della Torre investigated the matter for the Bureau of Securities.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a confidential, toll-free tipline for the public to report financial fraud, corruption and other illegal activities: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ (1-866-847-7425). The public also can log on to the Division Web site at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially. The Bureau of Securities can be contacted toll-free within New Jersey at 1-866-I-INVEST (1-866-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey at 973-504-3600. The Bureau's website is located at www.njsecurities.gov.