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Apr 15, 2024 by |

Healdsburg Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Caregiver Arrested For Power Of Attorney Abuse


In-Home Caregiver Obtained POA

Allegedly Stole $49,829 In Three Months

Online Bank Transfers

Financial powers of attorney (POAs) appoint designated persons to transact financial affairs on behalf of the person granting the power with full legal authority to do so.  The person appointed under the POA is called the Principal’s Attorney-in-Fact and the Attorney-in-Fact’s authority extends to almost every form of financial transaction unless the POA specifically limits his or powers. See Cal. Prob. Code §§ 4401 (statutory form for financial POA).  Persons can use powers of attorney to withdraw money from bank accounts, close existing bank accounts and open new ones, access all of s senior’s financial account information, sell and buy real estate and apply for equity lines or reverse mortgages on a senior’s home. The potential for abuse of such broad power is always present.  POA abuse includes outright theft of the principal’s money or property and, in a broader sense, making any decision or taking any action that is not in the donor’s best interest.  Even for the most trustworthy attorney-in-fact, the burden of making decisions for a principal is a heavy one.  Therefore, we recommend you appoint two trusted individuals as agents under any POA to act jointly.  We also recommend that you never, ever, grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiverCaregivers and others can wield their POA power to change a principal’s entire estate plan and redirect the principal’s assets to themselves.  If an agent has misused a POA to your or an older loved one’s detriment in Healdsburg or elsewhere in Sonoma County, call us at (415)441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Arrest For Theft By Power Of Attorney

In one reported case,[1] an in-home caregiver for an older man has been charged with financial elder abuse and elder neglect, and authorities are searching for other potential victims of the same suspect for similar crimes. According to police, earlier this year the caregiver assumed power of attorney for the man and retained the power of attorney until this summer. During that time, prosecutors allege the caregiver stole $49,829 by writing checks to herself and transferring money from the man’s bank account without his knowledge. Police are looking for other possible victims.  “We must hold people accountable for preying on society’s vulnerable, and that’s exactly what we intend to do in this case.  We are also hoping that anyone else who [the suspect] may have victimized will now come forward,” investigators said in a statement. 

Remedies Against Attorneys-in-Fact For POA Abuse

Abuse of a financial POA is grounds for civil liability of twice any amounts taken and attorneys’ fees for the victim. Probate Code § 4231.5.  Where the principal is over age 65 the misuse also constitutes criminal and civil financial elder abuse under California law.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30.  Agents who wrongfully take the property of seniors are responsible not only for twice the amount taken under the Probate Code but also, under the Elder Abuse Act, enhanced damages.  Both the Probate Code and the Elder Abuse Act grant the injured senior attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in suing to get their property back. Probate Code § 4231.5(c); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.  In addition to straightforward theft, California law also prohibits an agent from designating beneficiaries or creating future (or survivorship) interests in the principal’s property unless specifically authorized to do so in a POA.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4264.  The agent is strictly prohibited from making or revoking the principal’s Will. Cal. Prob. Code § 4265. 

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans can represent you if an agent has misused a Power of Attorney granted by you or an older loved one in Healdsburg or elsewhere in Sonoma County.  If you need help, call us today at 415-441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).or by email at <a href=””></a>. Ingrid will pursue all remedies available against the agent, including attorneys’ fees and expenses for the older person required to bring an action based on the agent’s wrongful conduct.

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

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