Attorney General Bonta Sends Bulletin To Local Law Enforcement Agencies
Elderly And Disabled At High Risk Of Abuse
Remedies For Elder Abuse
California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently issued a bulletin to California local law enforcement agencies reminding them of their obligations under state law to enact policies and procedures to help improve reporting, enforcement, and education regarding crimes against seniors and persons with disabilities. Attorney General Bonta’s advisory urges local law enforcement groups to protect the safety of seniors and persons with disabilities statewide. The legal protections are already in the law itself, especially here in California, but the protections are of no avail for the elderly if those protections are not enforced. This is particularly true of financial elder abuse which is on the increase throughout California. Any taking of a senior’s property, or any assistance in that taking, 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 has been the victim of elder abuse in the communities of Atherton or elsewhere in San Mateo County or California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
California DOJ Bulletin
Attorney General Bonta’s bulletin outlines that municipal police or county sheriffs’ departments that adopt or revise a policy regarding elder and dependent adult abuse or senior and disability victimization on or after April 13, 2021, must include the 28 items stated in Penal Code section 368.6, subdivision (c). The items provide clear definitions and information on the wide prevalence of crimes against seniors and people with disabilities. The legislation also requires including provisions related to extensive training on senior and disability victimization, a requirement that officers investigate every report of senior and disability victimization, detailed protocols for handling these crimes, and provisions regarding outreach to the senior and disability communities to encourage reporting and prevention of these crimes.
Protecting Older Loved One From Theft
Below are a few important steps you can take to protect an older loved one from theft. If you suspect a problem, report any suspicions and call elder abuse counsel to pursue all civil remedies available.
- Always run a background check and contact references for any in-home caregiver before hiring them. Check out the agency’s record too.
- Keep cash and jewelry out of reach of any caregiver or care facility aides at all times.
- Always keep Social Security numbers and account numbers in a secure place, off limits to any in-home caregivers.
- Caregivers should not see any Trust or Will. The senior’s financial affairs and estate planning documents are none of their business.
- Do not permit a caregiver to run errands with a senior’s credit card or use an ATM to get cash for the senior.
- Never make a caregiver an authorized signer on a bank account or grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver or show them a trust, Will or other financial papers.
- Frequently review the senior’s bank statements, records and mail. You may want to redirect the mail to your home so others do not have access to it.
- Speak to the senior alone, without the caregiver present, to find out any problems they may be having.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one in the communities of Atherton and Menlo Park in San Mateo County, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid will pursue all available remedies against those responsible for the financial elder abuse of the senior, including damages, rescission (undoing a fraudulent transaction), restitution (getting your money back), extra damages (to punish illegal behavior), and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing your action.