Former nursing home executive missing, accused of embezzling $1.7 million

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Authorities are searching for a former New Jersey nursing home executive who is accused of stealing $1.7 million from various accounts belonging to the facility.

Peter Joseph Leus, 38, of Clifton, NJ, has so far eluded authorities and is now on New Jersey's "12 Most Wanted" list. He has been charged with money laundering and theft by deception, according to authorities. 

He is believed to have taken money from the accounts of the New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Newark, NJ, to bankroll an alleged gambling habit, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

The facility's former controller, Leus allegedly wrote checks to numerous nursing home employees from payroll and patient-needs accounts, but workers did not receive the checks. Instead, Leus deposited the money, totaling more than $1.1 million, in his personal bank account. In addition, he wrote payroll checks to himself totaling almost $600,000. If found and convicted, Leus could be sentenced to 30 years in prison, fined $650,000 and ordered to pay restitution.

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