Caregiver Arrested For Stealing Disabled Patients’ Benefits
Impersonated Seven Patients To Obtain Their Government Benefits
Identity Theft And Accessing Personal Information
Elders and dependent adults are at risk of financial elder abuse and theft from the very persons who are entrusted to care for them. Sometimes the theft is directly from the bank accounts of the seniors or dependent adults or of the cash and credit cards in their wallets. Sometimes the theft is a more elaborate and sustained scheme of revising estate planning documents or getting a Power of Attorney. Sometimes the theft is of government benefits like Social Security payments intended for the senior or dependent adult. All of these types of theft and financial abuse when perpetrated against seniors or dependent adults are crimes and bases for civil actions. See Penal Code § 368 and, for the definition of elder and dependent adult financial abuse, see Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30:
(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.
Under the statute persons or businesses who wrongfully take the property of elders and dependent adults – and those who assist them – commit financial elder abuse and can be held liable for their misconduct.. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin, San Francisco, or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Charged With Stealing Benefits
Authorities recently arrested a caregiver on charges of stealing personal information of several intellectually disabled clients to fraudulently apply for and receive almost $90,000 government benefits for which the individuals themselves may have been eligible. A Grand Jury found that the caregiver used stolen and false information of seven clients under his care to apply for and receive the benefits. According to police, the scheme started in when the caregiver used fake email addresses for the victims but used his own phone number in benefit applications. Police said when the caregiver received bank cards loaded with the benefits, the accounts were quickly depleted in various ATM locations. When the government agency issuing the benefits attempted to interview the patients online, the victims would appear on the screen but the caregiver was the one talking for them off-camera. They said the victims looked confused and unaware. Police also accused the caregiver of fraudulently applying for benefits in another State based on the stolen information when he had exhausted all his victims’ benefits in their State of residence.
Preventing Financial Abuse Of Older Loved Ones
We have seen cases where caregivers redirected Social Security and pension benefits to their own accounts and similar types of identity theft and unauthorized online access to benefit accounts. Families of elders and dependent adults can really only protect their loved ones by keeping track of all benefit deposits and all financial matters related to the elder or dependent loved one. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver. Also, be sure caregivers do not have access to a senior’s cash, checks or credit cards, or financial information like bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. Monitor credit cards and bank accounts online as frequently as possible. Confirm that every benefit your loved one is entitled to is deposited into his or her account, not someone else’s. Have financial statements and important papers mailed to your own address so others do not have access to you loved one’s business mail. Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters, including any meetings with the business office of any nursing or assisted care facility in which they reside.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for the victim or his or her family. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.