An Ortley Beach man was sentenced to a prison term Friday after pleading guilty earlier this year to bilking a friend out of about $200,000 in an investment scam.
John Hammond, 70, of Ortley Beach, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan to a five-year prison term for theft by deception. Hammond pled guilty to the charge before Ryan on Sept. 23, 2022.
According to prosecutors, an investigation by Toms River Police Department detectives revealed that between May 2017 and Feb. 2019, Hammond deceived a friend by convincing him to invest over $200,000 with him, promising large returns on his investment.
Over the course of nearly two years, the victim deposited “large sums of money” into Hammond’s bank account – under the false impression that Hammond would be transferring the money into an investment account purportedly set up in the victim’s name, a statement from prosecutors said.
“When the victim asked the defendant to withdraw a sum of money from the investment account, Hammond perpetuated his scheme by creating fraudulent financial documents purporting to be from Fidelity Investments,” the statement said. “The investigation further revealed that Hammond never invested the victim’s money, never set up an investment account on the victim’s behalf, but instead used the victim’s money for his own personal benefit.”
On Sept. 8, 2020, Hammond surrendered himself at Toms River Township police headquarters, where he was processed and charged on a summons pending future appearances in Ocean County Superior Court.
Assistant Prosecutor Taylor Toscano handled the case on behalf of the state.