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Dec 30, 2022 by |

Los Angeles Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Sentenced For Stealing From Elderly Patient

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Accusations Of Falsified Checks and Time Cards

Guilty Plea Leads To Sentencing

Pursuing Civil Remedies

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 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 Sentenced For Falsifying Checks And Other Fraud

In a recently reported case, [1] a caregiver has been sentenced to five years probation 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 cashed checks showed 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.  For this reason, we always recommend that you keep all cash, credit and ATM cards and checks in a safe place, far from the reach of any caregiver or nursing home staff member or other stranger. Have the statements mailed to your home so others cannot open a senior’s mail and obtain confidential information that way.  Also, you may want to put other valuables like jewelry and silver in a safe place too as those valuables can be quickly taken and pawned before an elderly victim is even aware they are missing. 

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 time cards 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 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 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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