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Aug 15, 2021 by |

Contra Costa County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Fraud And Credit Card Theft

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Caregiver And Husband Accused Of Credit Card Theft

Alleged Spending Spree With Bedridden Victim’s Cards

Victim A 71-Year-Old Cerebral Palsy Patient Confined To Bed

Unscrupulous caregivers strike quickly if they can access cash, checks, ATM cards, credit cards, and jewelry.   The theft may start out relatively small with only a single extra item at a grocery store or petty cash.  But sometimes, a caregiver just steals as much as they can from the beginning.  Whether caregiver theft or fraud is a one-time act or a sequence of coordinated acts, we have seen cases where the caregiver drains all of a senior’s bank accounts, accesses retirement benefits and life insurance, causes estate planning documents to be changed in their favor, and has a senior’s house deeded to them or encumbered with a loan or reverse mortgage so the caregiver can take the proceeds. The best way to prevent this kind of economic devastation is to vet anyone who enters the senior’s home thoroughly, stay involved in a senior’s life, look for signs of abuse and get help at the very first instance you suspect something is wrong.  If you discover any caregiver theft or fraud being perpetrated against an older loved one of yours here in Contra Costa County or elsewhere in California, Evans Law Firm, Inc. will pursue the abusive caregiver, and the agency he or she works for, if your loved one has been the victim of financial abuse.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Contra Costa County, San Francisc0 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 Credit Card Theft

In one recently reported caregiver theft case,[1] authorities accuse a senior’s caregiver with racking up thousands of dollars of expenses using the financial cards of a bed-ridden elderly man.  The suspect caregiver and her husband are accused of going on an $8,280 spending spree, buying cameras, cellphones and food as well as spending more than $500 at a teddy bear shop.  According to the complaint, defendant was a caretaker for an in-home caregiver agency and was responsible for caring for a 71-year-old cerebral palsy patient, confined to his bed. Police were dispatched to the victim’s home when another caregiver reported that the suspect had been using the victim’s debit and credit cards for months without permission.  The victim told police he had given the caregiver permission to make some purchases on his behalf, including groceries and a freezer, but that she did not have authorization to make numerous other purchases on his cards, according to the complaint.  A review of bank records by police showed the cards had been used to make dozens of purchases, including thousands of dollars at area Walmart stores, $531 at Build-A-Bear Workshop, and numerous fast-food purchases.  The total the pair spent during their shopping spree was $8,280, police said.  Surveillance video from a local Walmart stores allegedly shows the caregiver and her husband making large purchases of personal items that were never intended for the victim, police said.  During questioning, the caregiver admitted using the financial cards to make personal purchases, including buying a cellphone and iPods, police said.

Protecting Seniors From Caregiver Theft And Financial Abuse

The best way to prevent this kind of sudden theft is to keep credit cards, cash, and ATM cards away from a caregiver’s reach.  Seniors should not give their credit card to a caregiver to go shopping for them; if they need help like that encourage them to ask family or a trusted friend to do the shopping.  Giving a relative stranger your credit card is just asking or trouble.  If you’re a family member of an older person check in on them frequently in person.  If you can’t do that, call and make sure you speak directly with the older person and find out what is going on in his or her life.  Don’t let a caregiver tell you your loved one or neighbor can’t come to the phone or believe them if they say the person is doing fine.  Insist on speaking directly and privately with the senior. 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.  Redirect the senior’s business or financial 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

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor by a new “friend” of the senior, a second spouse, caregiver, or other person in Contra Costa County, San Francisco, 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 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.

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

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