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Nov 27, 2022 by |

Marin And San Francisco Bay Area Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregivers Arrested For Making Thousands In Unauthorized Purchases On Elderly Patients’ Credit Cards

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Victims In Same Assisted Care Facility

Daughter Of One Resident Noticed Door Dash Charges

Caregiver Claims Elders Offered Help

Unauthorized debit and credit card charges are a common form of financial elder abuse.  Dishonest caregivers can strike quickly when they get their hands on a card and run up numerous unauthorized charges in a very short time.  Whenever a dishonest caregiver or other stranger enters a senior’s home, credit and debit cards and ATM cards, checks and entire check registers, accessible cash, and jewelry or other valuables provide an easy target. This is especially true if the senior is confined to bed or one room of the home or otherwise unable to know what is going on around them.  Patients in skilled nursing facilities or assisted care facilities are also at risk as a story discussed below illustrates. 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 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 Theft

In one reported case, [1]a caregiver has been arrested for allegedly making thousands of dollars of unauthorized charges on debit and credit cards belonging to residents of an assisted care facility where she worked as a qualified medication aide (QMA), passing out medicine to residents. Her job sometimes required her to enter residents’ rooms to deliver or administer their medications, according to police. She now faces theft and fraud charges in connection with a pair of cases in which she’s accused of using residents’ debit and credit cards to make unauthorized purchases totaling thousands of dollars.  In one of the cases, she allegedly charged her car insurance and car loan to a resident’s debit card, according to court documents. In another, police said she used a different resident’s debit and credit cards to make purchases at Amazon.com, and various retail stores.  Between the two cases, she racked up $15,455.97 in unauthorized charges, investigators said.

The daughter of two residents at the assisted living facility first noticed a pair of Door Dash purchases on her parents’ bank statements and reported them to police. That led her to look through previous bank statements, where she noticed the transactions for automobile insurance and a car loan.  She knew her parents didn’t have a car loan. The charges were from her father’s debit card; he had no knowledge of them and didn’t recall giving anyone permission to use his card.  In a story police believe was fabricated, following arrest the caregiver said one of the people she takes care of offered to help her make her car payment and gave her his debit card number. She claimed she “forgot” to change the account back to her banking information, resulting in the recurring charges.

Contact Us

Careful monitoring of all a senior’s accounts – not just the household checking account – may have caught the reported fraud in this case sooner than many months.  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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