Neighbor Held Himself Out As A “Caregiver”
Judge Found Man Exploited Position Of Trust
Isolated Victim From Those Who Could Help
Seniors are vulnerable to financial elder abuse from any number of people: caregivers, persons with a Power of Attorney over the senior’s finances, insurance agents, investment advisors, trustees and complete strangers. Financial predators will go to great lengths to steal from the elderly, putting themselves out as “caregivers” when in fact they have no training or experience in caring for the elderly. It’s a way for them to get access to a senior’s money, as the case discussed below illustrates. Any financial abuse inflicted on a senior is a crime and grounds for civil liability against the actor, anyone assisting the actor, and persons charged with supervising the actor. See, e.g., Penal Code § 368 (crime of elder abuse); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(definition of financial elder abuse). Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents victims of financial elder abuse from any source, be it caregivers, trustees, bookkeepers, persons with Powers of Attorney and others. Call us today at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267) if any senior loved one has suffered any kind of financial elder or dependent adult abuse in Napa or elsewhere in California.
Neighbor “Caregiver” Sentenced For Theft
In one reported case, a man who had held himself out as a caregiver was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing more than $11,000 from a 95-year-old, wheelchair-dependent neighbor who suffered from dementia and was living amid filth in her home under his “care.” According to prosecutors, the man defrauded the victim — a retired lawyer who lived alone — by forging checks on her account, withdrawing cash and misusing credit and check cards. As he took those funds, the judge in the sentencing hearing said, he did nothing to keep her home clean. The woman was found living in filth when the police gained access to her home. The case against the “caregiver” began when a landscaper who worked for the elderly woman felt uneasy about the amount of time the caregiver was spending with the woman. The landscaper contacted another customer, who visited the woman. She found the victim slumped in her wheelchair and called paramedics. An investigation followed which revealed that the “caregiver” had forged numerous checks, and made unauthorized ATM withdrawals and use of the victim’s credit cards.
“The essence of the exploitation in this case,” prosecutors wrote, “was that [defendant] was a trusted and relied-upon presence in [the victim’s] life, and he exploited that position of trust to manipulate her generosity, deceive her as to his intentions, and isolate her from other people who could identify and stop the financial exploitation.”
Protecting Older Loved Ones From Financial Abuse And Theft
We have seen financial elder abuse cases with very similar facts. The isolation of the victim is a common denominator in these cases. If an older loved one needs an in-home caregiver, stay involved and take steps to prevent this kind of abuse. Make sure jewelry, cash and other valuables are in a safe place away from the reach of any caregiver. Keep all financial information like account numbers and Social Security numbers away from a caregiver’s glance. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver. Visit your older loved one as regularly as you can to see firsthand how they are doing. Never let a caregiver take a credit card or ATM card to shop or get cash for the senior. Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters. Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.
Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in Napa County and throughout California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267), or email us at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.