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Jul 7, 2021 by |

Orange and Riverside County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Theft Of Jewelry And Cash

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Charges Of Theft In Orange And Riverside Counties

Multiple Investigations Under Way

Theft Of Cash From Another Victim

In-home caregivers have access to a senior’s jewelry, cash, valuables, credit cards, bank accounts and important papers unless you keep them out of reach. They also have access to a senior’s accounts via the phone or online.  The theft may start out small but once a caregiver senses they are getting away something, they take larger and larger amounts and may resort to forging, intimidation, identity theft and more to take more and more from the senior.  The abuse can be quick or can last over years and add up into the millions.  In the case of in-home caregivers placed by agencies or caregivers in facilities, there may be multiple victims.  These predators may have committed financial elder abuse before too; agencies and facilities are not always as thorough in vetting hires as they should be.  Right now, agencies are scrambling for aides and the vetting process may be even less thorough.  Always perform your own background checks on any caregiver assigned to a loved one.  Most of all, stay involved in your senior loved one’s life, look for signs of abuse (outlined below) and get help.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Orange or Riverside Counties or elsewhere California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent Examples Of Caregiver Theft In The News

In a couple of recently reported caregiver theft cases,[1] you can see illustrations of how unscrupulous caregivers may operate.  In one case, police arrested a caregiver who in nine months transferred over $245,000 of a senior’s money out of her bank accounts and into her own.  According to the report, the caregiver only had $8000 of the stolen money left when the police caught up with her.  The injured senior then sued the bank which had allowed some 44 online transactions to go through even though the activity raised red flags: the caregiver had failed to answer security questions correctly and the senior had never made a single online transfer in all the years she had the account.  The bank settled with the senior just prior to trial. 

In the other reported case, a caregiver who worked in Orange and Riverside counties has been arrested on allegations of stealing jewelry from her elderly clients, and investigators believe she may have numerous victims. According to police, a woman in her 80s that several pieces of her jewelry disappeared after receiving assistance from a caregiver assigned by a caregiver agency.  Detectives identified a particular aide as a suspect. They learned that the aide worked for a senior care company and was also under investigation for thefts in Orange County.  According to police, detectives raided the caregiver’s home and found numerous pieces of jewelry belonging to the Riverside County victim and other items allegedly stolen from residents in a care facility in Orange County. The case is still pending.

Steps to Protect Yourself or a Senior Loved One From Abuse and Fraud:

  • Always run a background check and contact references for any in-home caregiver before hiring them. Check out the agency’s record too.  In-home caregiver agencies must register with the Department of Social Services and you can review any citation records against any registered agency there.
  • Keep cash and jewelry out of reach of any caregiver or care facility aides at all times.
  • Keep Social Security numbers and account numbers in a secure place, off limits to any in-home caregivers.
  • Do not allow access to any Trust or Will or estate planning papers to any caregiver. The senior’s financial affairs and estate planning documents are none of their business.
  • Do not permit a caregiver to run errands with a senior’s credit card or use an ATM to get cash for the senior.
  • Never make a caregiver an authorized signer on a bank account or sign a blank check for them.
  • Never ever grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver or show them a trust, Will or other financial papers.
  • Frequently review the senior’s bank statements, records and mail.
  • Speak to the senior alone, without the caregiver present, to find out any problems they may be having.

Report any suspicions to the police but also call elder abuse counsel to pursue all civil remedies available to senior victims under California elder abuse law. 

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one in Orange or Riverside Counties, Los Angeles, San Francisco, 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 will pursue all available remedies against those responsible for the financial elder abuse of the senior, including damages, rescission (undoing a fraudulent transaction), restitution (getting your money back), extra damages (to punish illegal behavior), and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing your action.

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in either of these cases in any way.

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