United States Department of Justice Prosecuting Financial Elder Abusers
Recent Scheme Victimized Senior Veterans
Identify Theft and Unauthorized Withdrawals from Veterans’ Bank Accounts
Seniors are increasingly victims of financial elder abuse more than any other form of elder abuse throughout California and the United States as a whole. All fifty States have enacted laws protecting seniors from financial elder abuse and California offers among the broadest protections for the elderly. See Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30. Federal prosecutors are now prosecuting financial elder abuse cases as well under the Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection Act, Public Law No. 115-70. Criminal prosecution at the local or federal level is important but reach out to private counsel in order to pursue all remedies available to victims. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, call the elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. today at (415)441-8669.
In a recent federal case, U.S. prosecutors have arrested several individuals charged with alleged identity theft and unauthorized withdrawals from the bank accounts of thousands of senior veterans. The allegedly unauthorized withdrawals ranged from $8,000 to $13,000 from each victim’s accounts. Stolen data on victims allegedly allowed defendant to access benefits information. Access to those records in turn enabled defendants to withdraw millions of dollars from military members’ bank accounts according to the indictment. Evidence of the defendants’ purported scheme was detected earlier this year, advancing the government investigation that led to the indictment. It is important to note that an indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Spotting Financial Elder Abuse
Access to bank information allows a thief to act quickly. Older people are particularly vulnerable to having personal information stolen particularly when there is an in-home caregiver with access to bank information and important papers. As a family member, stay active in an elderly loved one’s life, particularly if they live alone, and drop by and check the senior’s accounts as often as possible. If they have in-house help be especially vigilant. Speak with your loved one in private and look for signs of possible financial elder abuse:
- Unexpected changes in wills, trusts, or powers of attorney.
- Sale to the senior of an inappropriate annuity or life insurance policy.
- Changes in spending habits and cash withdrawals or different types of spending than the senior normally incurs.
- An unexplained increase in check cashing, transfers of money, ATM withdrawals, or credit card activity.
- Opening of a new bank or brokerage account (or multiple accounts) or changing banks and brokerage firms.
- Unpaid bills.
- Unusual increase in investment activity or change in investment style toward riskier or unregistered investments.
- A senior who is overly reluctant to discuss financial matters perhaps out of fear from retaliation from a caregiver or other abuser.
- Allowing a new “friend” or caregiver to make decisions on the elderly person’s behalf.
- A caregiver or other person screening the elder’s phone calls or going through their mail.
Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver; our litigators have seen so many cases of financial elder abuse begin from that single mistake. Report any suspicions to the authorities but also contact elder abuse counsel. The financial elder abuse litigators at Evans Law Firm will pursue all available remedies against those responsible, 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.
If you or someone you love is the victim of financial elder abuse by a conservator, caregiver, trustee, stock broker, insurance agent, financial advisor or other party in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with securities, annuity, and other investment fraud, financial elder abuse cases and complex qui tam or whistleblower cases including offshore tax avoidance cases, complex financial contract cases and cases against large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical elder abuse, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in the case in any way.