Caregiver Allegedly Stole Thousands Over Four-Year Period
ATM Video Camera Catches Withdrawals
Family Discovers 34 Unauthorized Allegedly Written By Caregiver
There are a variety of fact patterns in financial elder abuse cases – predators on the elderly range from longtime advisors to strangers. The failing capacity of the victim and their isolation are almost invariably part of every story of financial elder abuse, however. Another frequently recurring fact is that the abuse begins right after a senior has suffered a stroke or debilitating illness or attack. Statistics also show that the older the victim, the greater the amount taken is likely to be. Sometimes the financial elder abuse is discovered during the victim’s life but often the abuse has been hidden and only comes to light after the victim has died and the family sees their financial records for the first time or discovers that a caregiver or other person has written themselves into an elder’s estate plan. Another recurring feature of financial elder abuses cases is that any theft tends to start out in small amounts but grows in amounts and frequency over time as the caregiver thinks he or she is getting away with it. Sometimes, as in the reported case discussed below, and in cases we have seen at Evans Law Firm, Inc. the abuse can last over years and add up into very substantial amounts. The best way for families to prevent abuse is to stay involved in a senior’s life, and look for signs of abuse (outlined below) and get help immediately if you suspect a problem. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Mateo County, San Francisco or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Arrested For Alleged Theft From 89-Year-Old Man
In a recently reported case, an unlicensed caregiver from Craigslist was arrested after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars over a four-year period from an incapacitated 89-year-old man. Authorities estimate the financial loss to her patient to be significantly higher than the $13,000 they have already determined. Suspicions first began earlier this year when the victim’s daughter discovered suspicious transactions on his account which led her to suspect that the caregiver may have been financially exploiting her father. The man had recently suffered a stroke, is hard of hearing, can’t see well and also has occasional memory loss. He told police that he relied on the caregiver to take care of him as well as act as his transportation since he cannot drive. The victim found the caregiver on Craigslist allegedly; she had only recently moved to his location from another state. The victim allowed her to work as a ‘live-in’ rent free in lieu of a salary. It was learned during this time the victim bought the caregiver a car, bought her daughter a car and paid her daughter’s rent. Additionally, the victim paid thousands of dollars for dental work for the caregiver and for trips she took. When the victim’s daughter took a look at her father’s finances, she discovered that the caregiver had written a total of 26 unauthorized checks to herself and another eight unauthorized checks to her daughter and that she had used the victim’s ATM card without permission to withdraw cash. Authorities also allege that the caregiver had become verbally abusive, used foul language constantly and even purportedly struck the elderly man in the face when he refused to provide money to her. Detectives eventually obtained video footage of the caregiver’s ATM transactions from the victim’s account, including allegedly making multiple cash withdrawals during a single visit were never authorized. Authorities arrested the caregiver for financial elder abuse, trespassing, forgery, computer tampering, theft, and fraud. The suspect is awaiting trial.
How Families Can Protect Older Loved Ones
Staying involved in an isolated senior’s life is the best way to prevent this kind of abuse or at least detect it if it occurs. If you can’t make a personal visit because you live too far away from your loved one, call on the phone speak directly with an older person and find out what is going on in his or her life. Also, ask a trusted friend or another relative to drop in and see them frequently and let you know how they are doing and whether they suspect there may be any problem. If the senior has an in-home caregiver be especially vigilant about watching financial matters for the senior. Monitor the senior’s credit cards online or close the cards altogether if they are not necessary; unauthorized use of credit cards is a very common form of financial elder abuse. Monitor all of a senior’s retirement, investment and bank accounts online. You also may want to redirect mail to your own address so any caregivers or other strangers in a senior’s home do not have access to mail. Also, make sure that financial information like account numbers and Social Security numbers are kept away from a caregiver’s glance. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver. Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.
If you or someone you love is the victim of financial elder abuse by a “friend” of a senior, a second spouse, caregiver, or other person in San Mateo County, San Francisco, 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.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.