Access To Funds And Unauthorized Trades And Transfers
Dangers Of Delegating Account Control
Recourse For Elder Victims And Families
Whenever someone has access to your money there is a risk that your money may be taken. The risk is especially high for seniors who may be too trusting or unable due to cognitive problems or failing memory to keep track of their finances. There are financial predators who take advantage of such situations. The predators may be relatively new acquaintances of the senior or long-time advisors whom the senior believed they could trust. Financial predators include in-home caregivers but also professionals like bankers, trustees, conservators, financial advisors, brokers, insurance agents, and others with whom the senior may have had a relationship for years. Whether the abuser is a stranger or a longtime advisor for a senior, any financial abuse or theft can be devastating. Evans Law Firm, Inc. has years of experience representing seniors who are victims of abuse from any actors and whether the injured senior still lives in their home or reside in nursing homes or assisted care facilities. We represent seniors here in Marin and throughout California who suffer financial elder abuse at the hands of caregivers or strangers with access to a senior’s money or at the hands of insurance agents, financial advisors, retirement planners and stockbrokers whether by sales of unsuitable investments including annuities, unauthorized trades, misrepresenting investments, failing to disclose important information, or theft. If you’re the victim of financial elder abuse call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Financial Advisors Who Exploit Elderly Clients
In one recently reported case, an investment advisor was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing nearly $934,000 from two elderly clients. The former broker plead guilty to securities fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Court records show that for decades the broker acted as the registered representative for three brokerage accounts owned by a retired WWII veteran. The broker reportedly changed investment firms several times, while transferring the man’s accounts each time. In the last years of the victim’s life, the broker allegedly forged wire transfer letters from the victim’s IRA account to his own bank. By the time the 98-year-old victim died, officials say the broker had made 74 unauthorized transfers and stole more than $900,000 from him. Within weeks of the first victim’s death, the broker stole another $32,000 from another elderly brokerage customer using similar methods. Following the broker’s guilty plea, he was sentenced to five years in prison.
Sadly, the reported case illustrates how financial advisors, trusted over time by seniors, may be the very persons who betray that trust and start to steal from their clients as they age and lose their ability to protect themselves from exploitation and theft. That is where the family of seniors need to step in and prevent abuse. You can do that by staying active in a senior’s life and routinely reviewing their bank and financial statements. Look for strange transactions or transfers of money. Accompany your older loved one to any business meetings they have, even their regular trips to the bank. If you stay involved, the chances are that predators will not be able to steal from your older loved one.
Protecting Your Older Loved Ones
A pattern of repeated transfers and thefts like occurred in the reported case is not uncommon. All theft starts with a single act and once a financial predator believes they are getting away with it, they do not stop on their own. Where a senior is incapacitated or unable to monitor his or her accounts alone, the abuser just keeps taking. Like the broker in the reported case, they will attempt to cover up their theft. Don’t let your older loved ones be injured by this kind of sustained abuse. Review bank records and bills continually. Do a background check on anyone you allow in their home to help them. Keep all important financial papers, Social Security numbers, ATM cards and credit cards safely stowed away. Make sure there’s not a lot of cash or jewelry around that can disappear. Most importantly – never ever allow the senior to give a caregiver a Power of Attorney. If you suspect abuse, call elder law counsel to help you pursue all available remedies against anyone responsible for abuse, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing your suit.
If you or someone you love is the victim of any type of financial elder abuse in Marin, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.