Allegations Of Stolen And Forged Checks
Bank Contacted Victim’s Family With Suspicions
How To Help Protect Older Loved Ones
While all seniors are potential victims of financial elder abuse, those who are alone and under the care of an in-home caregiver are particularly at risk if the caregiver is a dishonest person looking to take advantage of the situation. Stolen/forged checks off a senior’s account are a common type of fraud perpetrated on seniors by dishonest caregivers or other strangers with access to an elderly person’s checkbook. Often, financial elder abuse by forged checks starts out relatively small. If undetected, the amounts stolen grow over time as the predator gets away with his or her theft. If a dishonest caregiver can get away with forging checks they may move on to online account access or other ways to steal even larger amounts than can be stolen with a check. Left undetected, financial elder abuse can go on for years but for some victims the consequences are so severe and sudden that the theft is known right away. Whatever the timing or form of financial elder abuse and whatever the amounts, 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 is a victim of elder or dependent adult abuse or neglect in Burlingame or elsewhere in San Mateo County or Northern California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
In one reported case,  a Grand Jury has indicted an individual charging her with one count each of forgery, theft and theft from a person in a protected class (elders). According to prosecutors, the suspect had been employed by a company that provided non-medical home care to individuals that needed it. Prosecutors say that at some point, the victim’s bank contacted the victim’s family because officials had noticed “some unusual activity on that account.” The victim’s family contacted law enforcement officials. The prosecutor alleges that on at least two occasions the in-home caregiver/assistant stole checks from the elderly victim, forged the checks then cashed them — one for $600 and another for $800.
Protecting Seniors From Financial Abuse
Always do a background check on anyone you allow into your older loved one’s home even if they are coming through an agency. Ask for references and check them. Once hired, any caregiver or other in-home worker should never have access to a senior’s cash, checks, PINs, ATM cards or credit cards. Ever. Even if you consider the caregiver to be trustworthy, just don’t do it. You’re only asking for trouble. A dishonest caregiver or other stranger in a senior’s home will grab whatever they can get. Keep cash, checks and cards out of their reach. But don’t stop there in protecting your older loved one as online or phone access to accounts can also be a method for getting money. Regularly monitor all of a senior’s accounts; view account activity online every day if you can. Start your due diligence sooner too. Always do a background check on anyone you hire as a caregiver; get references and call them. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, ATM card, credit card, or a blank check. Stay involved in any senior loved one’s life so a stranger does not have the opportunity for this kind of theft and exploitation.
If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Burlingame or anywhere else in San Mateo County or Northern 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.