Caregiver Allegedly Targeted Several Elder Victims
String of Abuse And Theft Allegedly Totals Over $600,000
Forged Checks, Identity Theft And Money Transfers
Caregiver theft in the home sadly is becoming more and common. The rapidly growing elderly population are staying in their homes, allowing essentially strangers into their home for care. The amount of trust some elderly place in their caregivers leaves them vulnerable. And unfortunately, some caregivers take advantage of that trust and steal from clients. Dementia sufferers are particularly vulnerable. Older people with dementia can be both forgetful and paranoid. They may hide things in weird places to keep them safe and forget where they put them. Or they may too easily hand over a credit card or ATM card to a caregiver to run errands for them. All of these possibilities occur when a caregiver is in the home, and all put the senior at risk of theft or financial abuse. An unscrupulous caregiver may move from occasional cash or credit card theft to more serious theft of large amounts of money from a senior’s bank or trust accounts, or even go after a senior’s home. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Napa, San Francisco or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Indicted For Stealing $600,000 From Several Patients
In one recent arrest, authorities allege a caregiver stole more than half a million dollars from elderly people and people with disabilities while working in her role as a home health aide, according to an indictment. Specifically, the aide was charged with three counts of theft, one count of identity fraud and one count of misuse of credit cards, all felonies, court records say. A grand jury indicted her in September after a months-long investigation by police. The State alleges that the caregiver deceived the elderly people and people with disabilities for whom she cared as a home health aide and repeatedly used some of the stolen funds on casino gambling and the lottery. In one instance, police allege that the caregiver accessed various financial accounts from an elderly man with disabilities and stole at least $633,736 through writing checks, transferring payments and changing beneficiary destinations, the indictment says. Police further allege that she deceived the victim by issuing duplicate payroll checks to herself and repeating the payments to herself within the same week, the indictment says. The aide also allegedly issued “intermittent but repeated checks in amounts far exceeding home health aide industry standards for earnings and supplies needed for care of victim.”
The caregiver allegedly gave “gross over-payments to herself” and routinely deposited the money into her private checking account “where expenditures are shown largely to have been spent on personal luxury items, entertainment and gambling.” The caregiver allegedly requested and received personal loans from another elderly couple that ranged from $100 to $1,000, and totaled about $48,860, according to the indictment. Prosecutors said the caregiver had no intention to repay the loans due to excessive gambling and personal debt with payday and auto title loan organizations. In another case, police allege the aide deceived a man with disabilities of his Supplemental Security Income by keeping his government-issued benefits card from him, withdrawing all of the monthly benefits – approximately $740 – from ATMs at the beginning of each month and repeatedly lying to the victim that the benefits had been cut, the indictment says.
Finally, the caregiver was also charged with identity fraud for using the personal information of a 79-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease to execute short-term and high interest rate loans, the indictment says. The aide allegedly held herself to have unauthorized, superseding power of attorney over the elderly woman in order to continue high interest rate loan terms for which the
Protecting Older Loved Ones
If you have an older loved one who is under the care of an in-home caregiver, make sure they don’t have any accessible cash, checks or credit cards in their home. Keep their jewelry and valuable personal possessions in a safe place too. Even if you think you have all their bank and credit card information secure, continue to monitor credit cards and bank accounts online. Make sure financial statements are mailed to your own address so others do not have access to you loved one’s business mail. Also, make sure that financial information like account numbers and Social Security numbers are kept away from a caregiver’s glance. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver or nursing home staff member. Never allow a caregiver to take a credit card to go shopping or an ATM card to go get a senior some cash; you’re only asking for trouble if you do. Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters. You can be there to protect them from outright theft and the problems they may get into if they are sold an unsuitable investment or insurance product like an annuity. Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Napa, San Francisco, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.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.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.