Fraudulent Checks And Unauthorized Purchases
Remedies For Seniors And Their Families
Older persons lose more than $3 billion annually as a result of financial elder abuse, according to FBI and National Institute of Justice statistics. The true figure is likely much, much higher as most financial elder abuse goes unreported. As many as one in 10 vulnerable adults are potential targets, according to federal officials, and their financial predators are most often caregivers or other persons with access to their victims’ financial information, checks, and cards. While theft from any person is a crime, when the victim is over 65 the theft constitutes criminal financial elder abuse and grounds for civil liability against the person who took the property. Anyone assisting in financial elder abuse, even if another person is the one who physically takes the elder’s property, also commits financial elder abuse and is responsible for the property taken. Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(a)(1) and (2). California broadly defines what constitutes financial elder 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 has been the victim of financial elder abuse by a caregiver or other person in Los Altos or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669. We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Arrested For Fraud
In one reported case, a caregiver has been arrested and accused of stealing more than $1,000,000 from a 94-year-old woman for whom she worked. Police stated that the individual was hired several years ago to be a caregiver for the elderly woman despite the fact that she was never licensed as a caregiver, and according to investigators has a criminal history that includes petit theft and violation of probation. Police stated that for over five years the suspect has been cashing checks every two weeks, all signed by the elderly woman. Altogether, she collected $1.1 million from the woman’s trust. According to police after years of relatively small checks, red flags finally went up when the caregiver allegedly cashed a check for an unusually high amount from the woman the day after her death. “She wrote it for $90,000, which is kind of concerning,” the investigating detective explained. “It was written as a gift and she placed it in her daughter’s bank account.” Until her death, the 94-year-old woman wrote checks and signed them herself to pay her own bills. Detectives still are uncertain as to how the suspect got the woman to sign all the checks to her.
Remedies For Victims
Any senior, like the victim in the reported case, is vulnerable to theft when strangers are working in his or her home as caregivers or doing any other kind of work. If your older loved one has in-home assistance of any kind make sure their credit and debit cards, jewelry, cash and other valuables are in a safe place away from reach. If a senior has any cards that they never use, destroy them and alert the relevant bank or credit card company that the card is discontinued. Never give a caregiver a credit card or ATM card to shop or get cash for a senior. Keep financial information, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers away from a caregiver’s or other stranger’s glance. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver. Visit your older loved one as regularly as you can to see firsthand how they are doing. Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters. Most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.
Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in Los Altos or elsewhere in California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267), or email us at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.