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Prosecutor: Fort Lee Pre-K Teacher Stole $500G From Assisted Living Victim

Benjamin K. Yew

FORT LEE, N.J. -- A pre-school teacher from Fort Lee drained more than $500,000 from the account of a senior citizen who ended up unable to afford the care she needed in an assisted living facility, said authorities who arrested him Friday morning.

Benjamin K. Yew, 33, was ordered held on $75,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail on computer-related theft and elder-related abuse charges.

Detectives of the county prosecutor's White Collar Crimes Unit made the case after receiving a complaint.

Kew was "given power of attorney over a senior citizen who resided in a Bergen County based senior living facility" and "had taken advantage of his position to steal monies from bank accounts to which he had access," acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said Friday.

The accounts initially had more than $900,000 and received the victim's monthly pension and Social Security deposits, Grewal said. Yew used them to make monthly payments to the facility, he said.

For seven years, beginning in 2009, Yew "transferred money from the victim’s investment and checking accounts to his own personal bank account by check, via online banking transfers, and by making cash withdrawals and then depositing the cash into his account," the prosecutor said.

He then used the money for himself, Grewal said.

"When the money in the investment fund was depleted, the victim’s funds were insufficient to maintain the level of care the victim received on a monthly basis at the senior living facility," he said.

A first appearance was scheduled for Aug. 10 in Central Municipal Court in Hackensack.

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