Disabled Man Lost $52,000
Attempted To Take His Own Life After Loss
Victim Gave Caregiver Debit Card And PIN
Dishonest caregivers may prey upon a senior or dependent adult’s sympathies in order to take financial advantage of them. In a recently reported case, discussed below, a caregiver allegedly lied to a disabled man to get financial help which she then spent on gambling. The story underlines a message we always convey: never even discuss financial matters with a caregiver; caregivers are there to provide health care only. Dishonest persons can take advantage of even a small window into finances before they start taking. Any wrongful taking of a senior’s property, or any assistance in that taking by a friend or spouse of the dishonest caregiver, is a crime and grounds for civil liability of the person doing the taking and anyone assisting him or her. California Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). California broadly defines what constitutes financial elder or dependent adult abuse:
(a) “Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:
(1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.
If you or a loved one is a victim of elder or dependent adult financial abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Sentenced For Theft
In the reported case mentioned above,  a caregiver who gambled with money stolen from a disabled veteran was sentenced to three years in prison. According to authorities, the caregiver obtained the money by lying about different problems, including being unable to pay her bills or buy her kids’ school uniforms. The man gave her access to his bank card, which she then used to withdraw money spent on gambling debts, among other things. “[The victim] took pity on her and gave her his bank card and pin number for her to borrow money for the items and the defendant promised in return to pay him,” the local prosecutor said. “But soon, she was making weekly requests for money to such an extent that the complainant became concerned he would lose all his savings.” Initially, authorities say the caregiver asked the man for man in amounts averaging $600-700 at a time. Eventually, authorities say she gained online access to his accounts and her final withdrawal was over $7000. The police traced the majority of the stolen money to online gambling conducted by the defendant.
Protecting Loved Ones From Financial Abuse
Always do a background check on anyone you hire as a caregiver; get references and call them. Also, once a caregiver has been hired, act on any suspicions you have or as the 85-year-old mother said in the reported case any bad “vibes” you have. Call counsel and get advice; do not wait for real problems. Never allow a stranger, housekeeper or caregiver access to checks, cash or credit cards or jewelry and valuables. Even if you have checks under lock and key continue to monitor a senior’s account online as online or phone access may also redirect their money to a caregiver’s accounts or the senior’s money may be used to pay a caregiver’s bills online. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, credit card, or a blank check.
If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Alameda County or anywhere else in California, call us right away. Ingrid M. Evans has years of experience in representing seniors and their families against abusers of any kind, including in-home caregivers. You can reach us at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.