Financial Elder Abuse Alleged Over A Ten-Year Period
Victim Sold 23 Annuities Over 10 Years
Suspects Allegedly Isolated Victim From Family And Friends
Isolation of older persons is a common theme in cases of financial elder abuse. Another common thread is when a stranger convinces a senior to dismiss any financial advisors or accountants or other professionals who have been advising him or her and go see a new “expert” the stranger recommends. That tactic is a real red flag of financial elder abuse to come – getting rid of trusted professionals who have advised a senior for years. Financial elder abuse is a crime and grounds for civil liability of the abuser. California Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). Whenever you suspect that someone may be taking advantage of an older person, do something about it because the caregiver or stranger will act quickly once their abusive scheme begins. If you or a loved one is a victim of financial elder abuse here in Contra Costa County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Annuity Fraud And Financial Elder Abuse
One recent case illustrates how financial elder abuse schemes start and, if undetected, continue for years. In the case, California Department of Insurance detectives arrested two people for allegedly conspiring to commit financial elder abuse against an 89-year-old woman living alone. The two suspects allegedly targeted their victim over a 10-year period. The 89-year-old victim had a multi-million dollar investment portfolio that she expected to provide her income for the rest of her life. Shortly after meeting the victim, the suspects persuaded her to abandon the licensed professionals who had been managing her estate for years and replace them with one of the suspects who had no prior experience as a professional fiduciary or attorney-in-fact. The two suspects then allegedly persuaded the victim to liquidate her entire investment portfolio and invest $3,000,000 in two annuity policies. Over the next ten years, the two suspects allegedly conspired to sell an additional 23 annuities to the victim, many of which were purchased without her knowledge or consent. These sales generated insurance commissions in excess of $1 million. During the same period of time, one of the suspects allegedly collected fees exceeding $400,000 for acting as the victim’s trustee. During the course of their relationship with the victim, the two defendants are accused of failing to disclose material information to her, including the fact that they were engaged in a romantic relationship with each other, and that one of them had declared personal bankruptcy and been sued for fraud by the Federal Trade Commission in the past.
According to the Department of Insurance, the suspects sought to exert their control over the victim by isolating her from family and friends. As their influence increased, the victim became increasingly dependent upon them to handle her finances and take care of her daily needs. In return, police alleges that the suspects influenced the victim to make with tens of thousands of dollars in cash gifts to them and purchase a luxury automobile for their use.
Monitoring A Senior’s Accounts
Only after a family member acted on her suspicions and informed authorities, did the financial fraud come to light. The pattern of abuse in the case is not uncommon, and if abusers are getting away with their scheme they will not stop of their own accord. Don’t let your older loved ones be injured by this kind of sustained abuse. Stay involved in a senior loved one’s life and look for signs of financial abuse. Review bank records and bills continually. Never ever allow the senior to give a caregiver or a stranger or new “advisors” a Power of Attorney. Accompany any senior to all business meetings. If the senior has a trusted advisor of many years, get to know that person and ask him or her to let you know if they suspect anyone is taking unfair advantage of the senior. If you suspect abuse, call elder law counsel to help you pursue all available remedies against anyone responsible for abuse, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing your suit under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.
If you or someone you love is the victim of any type of financial elder abuse 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 <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.