Caregiver Had Power Of Attorney And Stood To Inherit Estate
Accused Of Lacing Peanut Butter With Trazodone
Arrest After Police Discover Evidence Of Contaminated Food
Financial elder abuse of seniors by dishonest in-home caregivers runs the gamut from petty theft to attempts to take everything the senior owns. Common modes of the abuse are forged checks, unauthorized use of credit cards, online money transfers, and altering estate plans and obtaining financial powers of attorney. The financial abuse is often paired with physical abuse, intimidation and other forms of emotional abuse, and neglect. In a recent arrest reported in the news, a caregiver allegedly went so far as to try and kill a senior whom she stood to inherit from when he dies. All forms of financial abuse from the one-off theft of cash to elaborate schemes to take everything a senior has are crimes and grounds for civil liability of the abuser, anyone assisting him or her, and perhaps even those responsible for supervising the abuser. 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 Los Angeles or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Arrested For Conspiracy To Commit Murder
In an arrest reported earlier this year, police charged a caregiver with attempting to murder a senior by lacing his peanut butter with Trazodone, a powerful antidepressant widely prescribed as a sleeping pill. Taken in large quantities a lethal overdose can occur. According to police, the arrested suspect acted as an older man’s in-home caregiver and over time had convinced him to appoint her as his power of attorney and had been added as a joint accountholder on his bank accounts, meaning she would inherit the money on his death. The man had a Trazodone prescription. According to police and a witness, the woman pulverized a bottle of the drug and added it to the man’s peanut butter. The witness went to the police with an account of what the caregiver had done, and the police searched the man’s kitchen and found the drug-laced peanut butter. The caregiver was arrested and confessed to the scheme while in custody according to police. The matter is still pending.
Protecting Older Loved Ones
Always run a criminal background check on any caregiver or other stranger you bring into a senior’s home to work there. Ask for references and call all names you’re given. Once you hire someone, stay especially alert to the financial affairs of your older loved one under their care. Never allow a caregiver to have any role in an older person’s financial affairs. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, credit card, or a blank check. Caregivers should be providing care, not meddling in finances. Even when the caregiver’s role is well-defined, keep an eye on all financial accounts of your older loved one. 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. But start your due diligence sooner too. Always do a background check on anyone you hire as a caregiver; get references and call them. Stay involved in any senior loved one’s life so a stranger does not have the opportunity for this kind of theft and exploitation.
If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Los Angeles or anywhere else in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.