A man of indeterminate age and address has been indicted for allegedly scamming an elderly Red Bank woman out of $750,000 by pretending to be her nephew, Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw announced Monday.

James J. James J. Demitro, also known Anthony Tatalia, was charged by a county grand jury with second-degree theft by deception, including a scheme to acquire the woman’s home for just $1.

The victim, who has dementia, had lived in the home since 1925, Warshaw’s office said in a prepared statement.From the announcement:

The Indictment follows a 5-month investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Monmouth County Adult Protective Services (APS) relating to suspicious real estate, financial and estate planning transactions undertaken by Demitro from March through August 2011. The investigation revealed that Demitro obtained more than $750,000 from various bank accounts belonging to a female senior citizen suffering from dementia. While posing as a nephew of the victim, Demitro also enlisted the services of multiple attorneys to prepare legally binding instruments to further his scheme to defraud the victim. For example, Demitro coordinated the preparation of a deed transferring ownership of the victim’s Red Bank home to himself for $1 – a home that the victim had resided in and owned since approximately 1925. In addition, Demitro coordinated the preparation of a Last Will and Testament for the victim seeking to name him as residual beneficiary and executor of the estate.

The investigation did not produce a reliable date of birth or place of residence for the defendant, who has been identified as James Demitro.

If convicted, Demitro faces a maximum potential custodial sentence of 10 years in New Jersey State Prison. The next court proceeding will be the arraignment of the Demitro, which is the formal presentation of the indictment to the defendant. It is expected that this proceeding will be scheduled within the next several weeks.

Demitro was arrested on August 19, 2011 and was remanded to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of $500,000 bail, set by Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, J.S.C. On the same date, this Office froze two bank accounts maintained by Demitro that contained approximately $600,000 taken by Demitro from the victim. Authorities also seized a luxury Italian sports car that Demitro had purchased with approximately $150,000 taken from the victim.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.

The case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Andrew S. Fried of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.
Defense Counsel: Thomas Buck, Esq., Milltown

County property records show a $1 sale of a home on Harrison Avenue to James J. Demitro last April.