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Aug 17, 2021 by |

Alameda County Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Arrest For Misuse of Powers of Attorney

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Agent Allegedly Stole $300,00 From Two Dementia Patients 

Victims Were Residents Of Assisted Care Facility 

Agent Left Victim Bills Unpaid, Threatening Their Eviction

Powers of Attorney (POAs) are incredibly important – and powerful – legal instruments.  Sometimes, they are absolutely essential when the principal needs their appointed agent to take care of a business matter or in fact take over the principal’s financial affairs when they are unable to manage them any longer. But sometimes Powers of Attorney are misused by the appointed agent and the results can be devastating.   Since POAs grant the agent acting under them broad powers over virtually all of a principal’s affairs, the potential for misuse of the broad power conferred by the principal is always present. Consequently, whenever you grant an individual a POA make sure it is a person you trust. Put a lot of thought into who you name because your choice is extremely important.  You should consult with a trusted advisor and close loved ones of this decision; do not make the decision at the urging of a single individual (especially if he or she is suggesting themselves).  Never, ever, grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver.  We have seen too many cases where caregivers abuse any POA to benefit themselves to an older person’s real harm.  If an agent has misused a POA to your or an older loved one’s detriment herein Alameda County or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent Arrest For Misuse Of Power Of Attorney

A recently arrested woman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars belonging to two seniors with dementia faces charges of financial elder abuse and other crimes.[1]  Following a months-long investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse Unit, the suspect was charged with two counts of grand theft and four counts of money laundering, with sentence-enhancing allegations of taking or destroying property in a white- collar crime.  According to state prosecutors, the suspect was given power of attorney to manage the affairs of two residents of an assisted living facility, who, because of their cognitive challenges, were unable to pay bills or control other aspects of their lives.  Between 2014 and 2018, the suspect was responsible for ensuring that their needs were met, including paying for their care via accounts belonging to the pair, according to court papers. But prosecutors allege that the individual instead pocketed nearly $300,000 of the victims’ funds, spending on her requirements and ignoring theirs.  The investigation was initiated when the victims became at risk of being evicted from their assisted living apartments, according to the DOJ.  Audits uncovered numerous alleged discrepancies in the victims’ accounts, pointing to transactions involving the suspect, who was “abusing her role as power of attorney,” the DOJ stated.  The suspect is awaiting trial on the charges, and has pleaded not guilty.

What To Do If A POA Is Misused

POA misuse is a prevalent form of financial elder abuse, but Evans Law Firm can help injured seniors whenever a POA has been misused. We are familiar with California law protecting principals from abuse by their appointed agents.  For example, California law prohibits an agent from designating beneficiaries or creating future (or survivorship) interests in the principal’s property unless specifically authorized to do so in a POA.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4264.  The agent is also strictly prohibited from making or revoking the principal’s Will. Cal. Prob. Code § 4265.   We have experience with many cases involving the misuse of POAs and know how to investigate and prosecute civil cases against all persons responsible for the theft or financial abuse.  Misuse of a POA to commit any such wrongful or unauthorized acts renders the transactions void and also makes the offending agent liable for attorneys’ fees when the principal sues for the abuse.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4231.5(c).

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans can represent you if an agent has misused a Power of Attorney granted by you or an older loved one.  If you need help, call us today at 415-441-8669 or or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  Ingrid will pursue all remedies available against the agent, including attorneys’ fees and expenses for the older person required to bring an action based on the agent’s wrongful conduct.

 

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

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