Cumberland County GOP chairman charged with fraud

Posted: April 03, 2014

VINELAND The chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Party was arrested Monday on allegations he bilked an elderly resident out of nearly $149,000.

Bob Greco Jr., 51, of Vineland, was charged with theft by failure to make required disposition after a lengthy investigation of the incident at a residential health-care facility he owns and operates in Woodbine, the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office said.

Greco was released Monday after posting 10 percent of his $35,000 bail. In an interview Tuesday, he denied the charges, saying: "This matter is a gross misunderstanding.

"I expect to be fully exonerated shortly," Greco said. He would not comment on specifics or say anything about the person relating to the prosecutor's office allegations.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R., N.J.), in an announcement Tuesday, advised Greco to step down from his GOP post. "Due to the seriousness of the charges, it is only appropriate that Bob resign his chairmanship of the Cumberland County Regular Republican Organization," the statement read.

The county prosecutor's office claims Greco stole the money from an elderly person who was admitted in 2012 to his East Creek Manor facility in Cape May County.

The prosecutor's office alleges that Greco "convinced the victim to sign power of attorney documentation" giving Greco access to use the money from the victim's bank account for business and personal costs.

County Prosecutor Robert Taylor said the investigation was continuing. If convicted, Greco could face five to 10 years in prison, officials said.

Greco in the past has been an active proponent of residential-care homes in the state, writing letters to various news outlets about the decline of such facilities. He said Tuesday that the home had been in his family for more than 40 years.

Violations

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Community Affairs, which licenses and regulates Greco's operation, said Tuesday evening that the 20-bed facility was inspected in January for physical conditions and social services, leading to more than 30 violations.

Infractions from the Jan. 14 annual visit included the need for a fire certificate of inspection; the cleaning of multiple rooms and appliances; providing residents with "an adequate, well-balanced diet"; and identifying "employees that supervise resident medications."

'Personal matter'

Greco said that he had not been in contact with LoBiondo and that there was no consideration locally for him to step down from the county party.

"This is a personal matter," he said. "It's not a political matter."

But a previous arrest and charges against Greco have been used in the political sphere.

In 2004, Greco pleaded guilty to a threat charge after a 2003 domestic-violence incident, court records show. He was initially charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and other offenses, which were later dismissed.

Those facts were later posted on a website, GrecoFelon.com, and used as recently as 2010 as a rallying cry by some Democrats to question his character and to ask for his removal from the party chairmanship.


afichera@philly.com

856-779-3917 @AJFichera

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