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Oct 22, 2022 by |

Marin County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Attorney-in-Fact For 105-Year-Old Woman Sentenced For Theft Of Millions

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Used Power Of Attorney To Steal Millions

Victim Did Not Live To See Sentencing

Five Year Prison Sentence And Restitution To Estate

Financial predators take advantage of elderly persons whether they are rich or poor, man or woman, living at home or residing in care facilities.  Financial predators may be relative newcomers in a senior’s life or may be, as in the case discussed below, persons the senior has known and relied upon for years.  One method of financial elder abuse is to obtain a financial power of attorney (POA) for an elderly person and then use that powerful legal instrument as the senior’s “attorney-in-fact” to steal from the elderly person, known as the “principal.”  Whatever the amount or duration, financial elder abuse is a crime and, along with misuse of a power of attorney, grounds for civil liability for the person taking the money and anyone assisting them.  Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial abuse); Cal. Probate Code § 4231.5 (liability for misusing a power of attorney). If a senior or dependent person is a victim of financial elder abuse, Evans Law Firm. Inc. can represent the victim and his or her family, and pursue all persons responsible, including anyone assisting in the abuse.  We will pursue all available remedies including double damages and an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing suit.  Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Attorney-in-Fact Sentenced For Theft From 105-Year-Old

In a recently reported case,[1] an individual who obtained a power of attorney for a 105-year-old widow has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing millions from her.  Investigators said the main gained power of attorney through fraudulent means and drained $3 million from his victim’s financial accounts.  The elderly woman became suspicious that something was wrong a couple of years ago when she received a notice that she owed a large sum in taxes.  The defendant, her attorney-in-fact, told her to just pay the bill because the government had recalculated her taxes and she owed what they said.  Something just seemed wrong about it to the elderly woman so she went to the Sheriff’s office.  That began an investigation which unraveled that man’s fraud, including the fact that he had not paid the woman’s taxes for years which created the large deficiency.  The investigation led to an arrest, the man plead guilty, and has now been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.  Authorities recovered about $2.4 million of the stolen funds.  Unfortunately, the victim died at age 108 just weeks before the defendant was finally sentenced for his crimes.

Remedies Against Attorneys-in-Fact For Misuse Of POAs

Misuse of a POA is grounds for civil liability of twice any amounts taken and attorneys’ fees for the victim. Probate Code § 4231.5.  Where the principal is over age 65 the misuse also constitutes criminal and civil financial elder abuse under California law.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30.  Agents who wrongfully take the property of seniors are responsible not only for twice the amount taken under the Probate Code but also, under the Elder Abuse Act, enhanced damages.  Both the Probate Code and the Elder Abuse Act grant the injured senior attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in suing to get their property back. Probate Code § 4231.5(c); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.  In addition to straightforward theft, California law also prohibits an agent from designating beneficiaries or creating future (or survivorship) interests in the principal’s property unless specifically authorized to do so in a POA.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4264.  The agent is strictly prohibited from making or revoking the principal’s Will. Cal. Prob. Code § 4265. 

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Marin, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at info@evanslaw.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible.

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.

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