Essex County man charged with stealing $180,000 from 96-year-old Springfield woman

An Essex County man has been charged with stealing approximately $180,000 from a 96-year-old Springfield woman during the course of about four years, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

Denis Marvin Solis, 54, of West Orange is charged with second-degree theft and second-degree theft by deception, with bail set at $75,000 by state Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue.

An investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit recently revealed that Solis, the principal of a local landscaping company, stole sums of money from the elderly victim in a variety of ways since February 2010 – he would allegedly get her to write checks of far greater value than were appropriate for work his company performed at her property, for example, and he would also allegedly accept payments for work his company never actually did. Additionally, on several occasions Solis allegedly convinced her to write multiple checks, mostly ranging from $2,000 to $4,000, for a single job by repeatedly claiming that she had yet to pay for it.

The alleged scheme fell apart shortly after an acquaintance of the victim contacted police to express concerns. Solis was arrested early Monday, and his first appearance has tentatively been scheduled for Friday.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.