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May 6, 2023 by |

Marin County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregivers Charged With Fraud Against Elderly Patients


Two Caregivers Charged With Unauthorized Use Of ATM And Debit Cards

Separate Cases With Similar Facts Of Financial Elder Abuse

How To Protect Older Loved Ones

Unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals and use of credit and debit cards is a prevalent form of financial elder abuse of the elderly.  If a dishonest caregiver has access to a senior’s debit or credit card they may use that account to pay their own bills online or over the phone.  Dishonest caregivers and others who access a senior’s cards and PIN (or create a PIN through phone or online account access) can rack up large charges and make ATM withdrawals in relatively short amounts of time.  If the senior is unable to monitor their own bank accounts, the fraudulent use of the cards can continue for long periods of time as the case discussed below illustrates.  Any wrongful taking of a senior’s property, or any assistance in that taking by a friend or spouse of the dishonest caregiver, 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 financial 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).

Caregivers Charged With Theft By Unauthorized Debit Card Use

Two recently reported cases illustrates how dishonest caregivers exploit their patients by using their debit or credit cards.  One reported case, [1] police arrested a woman for allegedly stealing over $30,000 from a 76-year-old woman while working as the woman’s in-home caregiver. According to the authorities, the caregiver withdrew more than $30,000 from the victim’s account through an ATM machine over an eighteen month period.  The criminal complaint noted that the withdrawals were all made without the victim’s consent. The caregiver is charged both with criminal financial elder abuse and theft.  She could be sentenced to between four and fifteen years in prison according to authorities reporting the arrest.

In the other reported case, a caregiver and her husband have been charged with using an elderly, wheelchair-bound patient’s debit card to pay their own bills.  Charges are pending.

Protecting Loved Ones From Financial Abuse

Whether a senior loved one in your family still lives at home or is in a facility, keep a constant eye on the senior’s financial records and keep their ATM and credit cards in a safe place out of reach of caregivers and other strangers.  Never, ever, give a caregiver a credit card to run an errand or an ATM card to make a cash withdrawal. Review statements online and redirect mail for the account to your own address so caregivers or others cannot access financial information by opening a senior’s mail.  Never give account numbers, PINs or Social Security numbers or any other identifying information to caregivers.  If you detect a problem, do something about it. Call counsel and get advice; do not wait for real problems. Never allow a stranger, housekeeper or caregiver access to checks, cash or credit cards or jewelry and valuables.  Even if you have checks under lock and key continue to monitor a senior’s account online as online or phone access may also redirect their money to a caregiver’s accounts or the senior’s money may be used to pay a caregiver’s bills online. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, credit card, or a blank check. 

Contact Us

If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Marin or anywhere else in California, 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 Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in the case in any way with either of the cases mentioned.

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