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Nov 30, 2022 by |

Los Angeles Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Theft Of Social Security And Pension Benefits

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Redirecting Direct Deposits

Online And Phone Access

Trace Where Loved One’s Pensions Are Deposited

Whenever a dishonest caregiver gains access to confidential financial information of an elderly person, there is a risk that they will use that information to take as much money from the elder as they believe they can get away with.  This may extend to redirecting monthly Social Security and pension and IRA benefits and distributions to their own accounts.  We have seen cases where greedy caregivers do just that.  Anonymous online access to benefit profiles or phone impersonations of seniors are frequent ploys by caregivers intent on stealing from unsuspecting older persons. Redirecting benefits is taking a senior’s property.  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 Marin County or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Alleged Caregiver Theft

In a recently reported case,[1]a family member of an elderly male, diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia discovered that a caregiver/”old family friend” was stealing two-thirds of the senior’s Social Security check. The family member first started suspecting that something wasn’t quite right when the caregiver/”friend” convinced the senior to buy her a car. Then the relative found out that the elderly man signed over a power of attorney to the caregiver. Reportedly, the woman obtained the POA by telling the elderly man that his psychiatrist said that if he didn’t sign over a power of attorney to her, he was going to place him in a nursing home.  The relative decided to take a more active role and the next time his uncle received his Social Security check of $1,498 he went to the bank with his uncle to deposit it. By the time the two got to the bank, $800 had already been taken out of the account that morning at an ATM.   The caregiver had reportedly also written numerous checks to herself off the senior’s account.  The relative finally convinced his uncle to revoke the power of attorney.

Contact Us

Keep confidential financial information out of reach for any caregiver in your older loved one’s home.  Never let a caregiver know Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, PINs or any other confidential financial information of any kind.  Regularly monitor all a senior’s accounts – not just the household checking account.  Start your due diligence even before you get to the account monitoring stage.  Always do a background check on anyone you hire as a caregiver; get references and call them.  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.  If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one, 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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