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Dec 29, 2023 by |

Healdsburg Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Fraud On The Elderly

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Check Fraud Alleged

Caregiver Sentenced Following Guilty Plea

Civil Remedies For Injured Seniors

All seniors are potential victims of financial elder abuse but those who live alone are particularly vulnerable especially after they may have lost a longtime spouse or partner.  None of us, and especially isolated seniors, should ever let a stranger in the home, including a newly hired caregiver or aide unless the person has been fully vetted.  Even then, the risk of financial elder abuse is present. Cash, checks and credit cards can disappear quickly whenever a dishonest stranger or caregiver enters an elderly person’s home.  It may be a one-time theft or a more sustained theft through writing checks or using credit cards repeatedly if the dishonest stranger is a caregiver or other person with continued access to an older person’s financial records, cards and information.  Whatever the “form” or frequency or size of financial elder abuse, 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 Healdsburg or elsewhere in Sonoma County and throughout Northern California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Caregiver Sentenced For Falsifying Checks And Other Fraud

In one reported case, [1] a caregiver has been sentenced to probation for a period of five years and ordered to make restitution following her guilty plea to allegations of falsifying personal checks that she obtained for payment from a 94-year-old patient during a seven-month period.  According to court documents, a comparison between timecards and paychecks revealed that she fraudulently obtained $35,300 in excess payments from the victim.  Fortunately, the victim’s family noticed the alleged discrepancies and alerted authorities.  Police then conducted an investigation which led to the arrest, guilty plea and sentencing.  The reported case illustrates just how risky it is when a dishonest caregiver or other person has access to the checks of an elderly person in their home or in a nursing home room. 

Protecting Seniors From Financial Abuse

Always do a background check on any caregiver before he or she is hired.  Ask for references and check them.  Once the caregiver is on the job have the timecards sent to you so you can verify their accuracy. There are other important steps to follow as well to prevent more elaborate schemes of financial abuse. Careful monitoring of a senior’s checking account – and close review of cancelled checks – may have caught the reported fraud in this case sooner than eight or nine months.  Always monitor a senior loved one’s checking account; take a look at it online every day if you can. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, 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. 

Contact Us

If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Healdsburg or elsewhere in Sonoma County or throughout 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 info@evanslaw.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

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

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