FREEHOLD – A Manalapan resident has been arrested and charged with stealing more than $175,000 from 10 victims who had entrusted him to invest large sums of money on their behalf, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Tuesday.

Jeffrey Loretta, 60, is charged with one count of second-degree Theft, three counts of second-degree Misapplication of Entrusted Property, and seven counts of third-degree Misapplication of Entrusted Property.

An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit revealed that the 10 alleged victims gave Loretta a combined total of slightly more than half a million dollars at various times between January 2020 and February 2021, in exchange for promises that the funds would be responsibly invested. On several occasions, the investigation revealed, Loretta provided multiple victims with inaccurate and false gains figures, inducing them to reinvest additional money.

Instead, Loretta lost nearly $200,000 of the funds via bad investments and spent more than $175,000 of the funds on himself, taking out thousands of dollars at a time in ATM withdraws and making checks out to himself, payable in cash.

Loretta turned himself in to authorities on Friday and was released pending a first appearance to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.

If convicted of the second-degree crime, Loretta would face up to 10 years in state prison.

Despite the 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 U.S. Constitution and State law.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen, Director of the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit.