William Price was supposed to be helping older people as a caseworker for Atlantic County Adult Protective Services.

But on Friday, the Linwood man was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $125,000 from an elderly couple he met through his job. He now must repay that money.

Price, 57, was part of a scheme to bilk the elderly, allegedly led by attorney Barbara Lieberman and Jan Van Holt, the owner of a business that offered in-home care and legal financial planning for the elderly.

Lieberman, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence, allegedly stole more than $800,000 from the same couple.

Price pleaded guilty in July to second-degree theft by deception, and Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury sentenced him under that agreement.

Price admitted he met the unnamed couple in 2006 through his job with the county. He then befriended them and recruited them as clients for the alleged members of the scheme.

“We’re supposed to respect and care for our elders with the utmost dignity and humanity, but Price callously preyed on this couple, betraying their trust, his duties as a social worker and every standard of decency,” said acting Attorney General John Hoffman. “This prison sentence sends a strong message that this type of abuse of the vulnerable, especially when committed by someone responsible for their care, will be met with harsh punishment.”

Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said con artists frequently target the elderly.

“What makes this case so appalling is that the man who initially targeted the victims for fraud was a caseworker for Adult Protective Services who used that position to secure the trust of his victims,” Honig said.

“This sentence should serve a strong message to the remaining individuals who were charged along with Price and anyone else who would contemplate similar abuses against the elderly,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, State Police superintendent.

Contact: 609-272-7257

Twitter @LyndaCohen

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