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Woodbridge attorney admits to theft of clients’ funds

An attorney whose practice is in Woodbridge admitted to the theft of clients’ funds stemming from two pending indictments.

Richard Zuvich, 64, of Metuchen, pleaded guilty on July 16 to theft by unlawful taking and misapplication of entrusted property admitting he took the proceeds from a house sale, put the funds into a trust account, and then withdrew proceeds for his own personal gain without the clients’ authorization, according to information provided by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

In a separate case, Zuvich pleaded guilty to theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition admitting he negotiated an insurance settlement for a house that burnt down on behalf of a client, without her consent or knowledge. He then proceeded to steal the settlement money, according to the statement.

Under a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Prosecutor Christine D’Elia, Zuvich is to serve five years in a state prison, and is to pay $310,000 in restitution at the time of sentencing, according to the statement.

Zuvich was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar in 1980. He was suspended from the practice of law on May 30, 2017, following a petition filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, according to the statement.

He is scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez in New Brunswick on Feb. 22. At that time, he must make restitution to his clients.

An investigation by Detective Andrew Kondracki of the Woodbridge Police Department and Detective Christopher Pennisi of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that Zuvich, who was a practicing attorney in Colonia, stole client funds between May 8, 2015, and July 2017.

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