- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey investment adviser who stole $175,000 from an elderly widow is headed to prison.

Andrew M. Lesnak, 54, of Toms River, received a five-year sentence Friday, authorities said. He had pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy and theft by deception.

Lesnak was an investment adviser for the widow and her husband, authorities said. After he died in 2007, the woman asked Lesnak for financial help and gave him power of attorney.

According to authorities, Lesnak convinced her to turn over an annuity to him, and he converted $175,000 of it into two cashier’s checks.

Without the widow’s knowledge, Lesnak used one of the checks to pay off a home equity line of credit held against a home his 84-year-old father owned in Pine Brook, authorities said. The other check allegedly was deposited into the elder Lesnak’s checking account and later withdrawn as cash.

The widow became suspicious of Lesnak when he wouldn’t return her telephone calls after she entered an assisted living facility in 2012. An attorney then discovered that a significant amount of her assets were missing.

Lesnak’s father, Andrew G. Lesnak of Hampton Bays, New York, pleaded guilty in June to theft by receiving stolen property. He was sentenced Friday to two years of probation.

The Lesnaks have paid the widow $175,000 in restitution.

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