NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On December 12, a 53-year-old plumber pled guilty to stealing from an elderly person he knew, including having her sign over the deed to her own home to him.
For the past several years, Fady Chedid was living in the home at 11 Hartwell Street, which initially belonged his 88-year-old victim, Julia Ribar.
But Chedid apparently had Ribar sign over the property to a company he controlled in 2013, around the time that he had her put in a nursing home out-of-state.
Ribar, a widow who previous tenants called a "great landlord," was responsible for the home following the death of its prior owner, Elizabeth Horvath, according to land records.
Chedid had apparently been living on Hartwell Street for several years, as he cared for the alleged victim while also maintaing the property.
But at some point during his stay at the house, Ribar was placed in the first of two Central New Jersey nursing homes where she resided, before being re-located to one in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Chedid might have gotten away with the scheme, but someone who knew Ribar alerted Adult Protective Services (APS), who then got the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) involved, after learning that something suspicious may have been afoot.
Following an investigation by MCPO Detective Erik Larsen, Chedid was arrested at the home on August 5.
Just over four months later, Chedid pled guilty before Judge Pedro Jimenez to one count of third-degree theft,"admitting he deceived the 88 year-old victim into deeding her New Brunswick home over to him," according to the MCPO announcement.
According to property records, the 2-family home and the land that it sits on it are valued at $127,300. By pleading guilty to a third-degree charge, Chedid leaves open the possibility that he will avoid jail time and instead be sentence to probation.
As part of the agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christine M. D’Elia, Chedid must pay back taxes on the home, leave the house, and transfer the deed back to the victim.
Chedid also agreed to pay back $10,000 in restitution for checks he wrote to himself from the victim’s account without her permission, according to the MCPO's statement, which was not sent to New Brunswick Today.
Chedid's sentencing is tentatively scheduled for March 17 at the Middlesex County Courthouse. The MCPO statement did not say what recommendation prosecutors would make regarding Chedid's sentence.
Chedid comes from a prominent family involved in the local real estate game, but he personally did not own any property in his own name at the time of his arrest.
The Hartwell Street home was officially sold to Mr. Plumber Inc., a company controlled by Fady Chedid, on September 4, 2013, the same date the MCPO alleged that Chedid started writing checks to himself from the woman's account.
The Chedids are among the biggest private landlords in the city, with at least 49 properties owned by persons with that last name.
Fady's two brothers, Maroun Chedid and Elie Chedid, own six homes each in the Hub City, and members of the same extended family own both of the liquor stores in the Sixth Ward neighborhood–where the lucrative property rental business is boosted by Rutgers University.
As we reported previously, Antoine "Tony" Chedid jointly owns two Sixth Ward rental properties with City Council President Kevin Egan.
Another family member, Pierre Chedid, was recently approved to build a new apartment building on Louis Street in the Fifth Ward of the city.
Along with Elke Franz, Fady Chedid once owned a home on Michael Road in South Brunswick, but it was sold in a short sale for $400,000 in May of 2013.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.