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Jan 28, 2022 by |

Alameda County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Sentenced For Stealing $363,322 From Elderly Couple

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

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Whenever a caregiver or other stranger is in a senior’s home there is a very real danger of theft, whether the caregiver comes through an agency or is a direct hire. Online access to financial accounts offers financial predators a way to steal money without having to be seen by a bank teller or vendor. However the theft occurs, caregiver fraud is a crime of financial elder abuse and grounds for civil liability against the person who took the property ad anyone assisting them.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(a)(1) and (2).  Financial elder abuse is broadly defined under California law:

(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 has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669.  We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Caregiver Sentenced For Years Of Theft

In a recently reported sentencing,[1] a Bay Area caregiver was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back $363,322 she stole from an elderly couple while she cared for them, prosecutors said.  The defendant pleaded guilty to charges, including afederal charge for wire fraud. Her attorney wrote in court papers that the defendant “actually had great fondness” for the couple and takes full responsibility for what she did. According to the government, she used the money for Disneyland trips, Princess cruises, gifts for her five pets, and breast augmentation surgery. The fraud covered a three-year period beginning in 2016, authorities said. The victims were in their 70s and suffering from early stages of dementia, assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Walsh wrote in a court memo asking for a 37-month prison term. “[Defendant] took advantage of her position of trust and responsibility caring for the older couple suffering from early-stage dementia,” Walsh wrote. “She used her employment to gain access to and use [their] bank accounts, credit cards accounts, and retirement accounts without authorization.” After her prison sentence, the defendant will be on federal supervised release for three years, prosecutors said.

Protecting Older Loved Ones

There is no such thing as complete protection from financial elder abuse but there are several important steps you can take to protect older loved ones. Always do a background check on any person before hiring them as a caregiver, even if you are working through an agency.  Get references and check them.  Once the caregiver is in the home, keep an eye on all of your older loved ones’ accounts. Change the mailing address for bank statements so that they come to you instead of the older person’s home where strangers can see account numbers. Do not allow any caregiver access to cash, credit cards, checks, and financial information.  Keep jewelry, guns, silver and other valuable possessions in a safe place.  Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver or nursing home staff member.  Do not allow a caregiver to take a credit card to go shopping or an ATM card to go get a senior some cash; you’re only asking for trouble if you do. If you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at info@evanslaw.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for the victim or his or her family. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.

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

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