Thursday, July 18, 2013

Probe Into Career Con Man's Recent Alleged Forged Deed Scam Uncovers Pill-Peddling Operation

In Newton, New Jersey, The Star Ledger reports:

  • Up until about 2011, Robert Kosch Jr. had primarily handled shady real estate deals.

    With a slumping housing market, the 56-year-old Bloomfield man with a long history of real estate fraud apparently then launched another criminal enterprise: using phony prescriptions to buy large quantities of the painkiller oxycodone and then selling the pills.

    “He’s a lifelong con man. His tentacles go all over,” said Sussex County Assistant Prosecutor Seana Pappas.

    Last week, Kosch was charged in Pennsylvania with obtaining more than 13,000 oxycodone pills – valued at more than $400,000 — by passing 69 prescriptions with phony names at three pharmacies between January 2011 and October 2012, according to his affidavit of probable cause.

    The prescriptions were written “for no valid medical purpose” by John “Jack” Manzella, a Pennsylvania osteopathic physician, the affidavit states.

    With at least two dozen previous criminal convictions related to fraudulent real estate deals dating to the 1980s, Pappas said the most recent investigation of Kosch began when a Vernon Township woman was told a strange man was living in her Highland Lakes house.

    With foreclosure proceedings on the home pending, Kosch, who posed as a real estate investor specializing in finding private lenders for people with bad credit, got the woman’s deed and forged her name, transferring the property to himself, according to Pappas.

    A neighbor alerted the woman that someone was living in the house. The man at the house said Kosch let him stay there for free, Pappas said. “The homeowner never heard of Robert Kosch or any of his companies.”

    The man living in the home was later identified as Kosch’s former attorney, Stephen Rosen of Little Falls, who was indicted in May with Kosch and charged with one count of fourth-degree criminal trespass.

    Pappas said she did not know how much Kosch allegedly stole in the Vernon real estate transactions.

    A subsequent investigation led to a search of Kosch’s real estate offices on Speedwell Avenue in Morris Plains, where “stacks of blank prescription pads,” as well as prescriptions filled out to fictitious people, were found, Pappas said. Rosen owned the offices.

    A list that included the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of more than 500 people also was found, she said.

    Kosch used the list of names, according to Pappas, to write phony prescriptions to get access to oxycodone pills. He also was accused of making fraudulent real estate deals, Pappas said.

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