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A Spring Lake podiatrist who lost a court battle over his elderly neighbor's fortune was indicted in Monmouth County yesterday for allegedly duping the eccentric widow out of her home and wealth.
Specifically, the indictment charged Sollitto and Casale with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception in their handling of the sale of the house known as Lowlands, which was once part of a mansion owned by the grandson of steel magnate John A. Roebling. Those are the two most serious charges, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Attorneys for both men said their clients are innocent.
The former neighbor and the attorney for a Spring Lake widow pleaded not guilty yesterday to allegations that they duped the elderly woman out of her home and fortune in the months before her death.
In their first court appearance since a grand jury indicted them in November, Ronald J. Sollitto and Michael Casale contested the criminal allegations as the product of a campaign to destroy their reputations.
Sollitto, a 53-year-old Saddle Brook podiatrist, and Casale, his 57-year-old attorney-friend from West Caldwell, are accused of orchestrating a plan to trick Sollitto's neighbor, Madeleine Stockdale, into making him the main beneficiary of her will and selling him her seaside home under questionable financial terms.