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Apr 30, 2022 by |

Alameda County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Bookkeeper Arrested For Stealing From 92-Year-Old Client

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Altered Checks Discovered By Victim’s Daughter 

Allegedly Stole Over Two-Year Period

Deposited Altered Checks Into Her Own Account

Given the potential for abuse, a licensed and bonded professional fiduciary is probably the optimal choice when a senior or dependent adult needs help with checking writing and bill paying and no nearby trusted family member can do the job. While bonded and licensed professional fiduciaries charge higher rates than unlicensed, self-proclaimed “bookkeepers” the risk of employing a dishonest, uninsured bookkeeper can be great.  Certain individuals may take advantage of access to a senior’s finances for their own benefit.  Any such act of financial elder abuse is criminal and grounds for civil liability against the person who took the property ad anyone assisting them.  Penal Code § 368 (crime of financial elder abuse); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(a)(1) and (2)(definition of financial elder abuse including assisting in the abuse).  Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents victims of financial elder abuse from any source, be it caregivers, trustees, bookkeepers, persons with Powers of Attorney and others, and pursues all remedies available under the law.  Call us today at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267) if any senior loved one has suffered any kind of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, and we can help.

Recent Bookkeeper Arrest For Financial Elder Abuse

One recent arrest illustrates how a bookkeeper may financially exploit an older person.[1] In the case, over her two-year employment, a bookkeeper allegedly stole more than $60,000 from a 92-year-old woman.  The defendant was a self-proclaimed “bookkeeper” hired to pay the elderly lady’s bills.  According to the District Attorney, the bookkeeper allegedly altered checks signed by her elderly client and adding the word “hundred” to the amount line and adding two extra zeros to the numerical account.  If, for example, the elderly woman signed a check for $25.00, the DA said defendant would change it to $2,500.  A total of $60,400 in altered checks were allegedly deposited into the defendant’s bank account. The elderly woman’s daughter eventually discovered the missing money when she reviewed her mother’s accounts.  She contacted the authorities who then conducted an investigation that led to the charges and arrest.  The case is pending.

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse And Theft

Ultimately, the victim’s daughter in the reported case alerted the police when she noticed money missing from her mother’s accounts.  The fraud had gone on for almost two years at that point.  One takeaway is that families should start monitoring a senior’s accounts the moment anyone else has access to the accounts,  Frequent monitoring of an older loved one’s financial accounts – including checking where their Social Security and pension benefits are deposited – is the frontline of protecting your older loved one. Monitor all of a senior loved one’s bank accounts, investment accounts, IRAs, and credit card accounts online.  Audit the work done by any bookkeeper or trustee for the senior.  Trace income and expenses through all accounts and pay special attention to transfer out of their account to any other account.  We have seen many instances where a caregiver or other persons sets up a joint or separate account and siphons a senior’s money into that account for their own use. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver or a bookkeeper. 

Contact Us

Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away. Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in Alameda County and throughout California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse.  Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267), or email us at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in the reported case in any way.

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