Allegedly Cashed Out Life Insurance
Unauthorized Withdrawals From Joint Account
Accused Of Forging Elder’s Signature On Checks
According to FBI and National Institute of Justice statistics, older Americans and their families lose more than $3 billion annually as a result of financial elder abuse. While theft from any person is a crime, when the victim is over 65 any theft is also criminal financial elder abuse and grounds for civil liability against the person who took the property. Anyone assisting in financial elder abuse, even if another person is the one who physically takes the elder’s property, also commits financial elder abuse and is responsible for the property taken. Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(a)(1) and (2). California law broadly defines what constitutes financial elder 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 has been the victim of financial elder abuse by a caregiver or other person in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669. We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Former Caregivers Arrested For Allegedly Stealing More Than $100,000
In one recently reported case, a former caregiver was charged with multiple counts of theft, financial elder abuse, and forgery that accuse him of stealing about $125,000 from an elderly man for whom he cared. The suspect allegedly cashed out the victim’s life insurance policies, and had a joint bank account with the victim that he used to further his alleged crimes, which included forging the victim’s signature to access other monies, police said. A relative of the victim, who reported the allegations to law enforcement, said the suspect was the victim’s caregiver starting about three years ago, an arrangement that started through a caregiver service. The victim was living alone and had his pension and social security payments deposited into a joint account the suspect opened. Following the relative’s report of suspicious activity in the elderly man’s accounts, police detectives investigated and substantiated several alleged forgeries of the victim’s name on checks, many which were made out to cash, and allegedly found that the suspect changed the mailing address on one life insurance policy from the victim’s residence to his own. Following a deposit of $79,093 in cashed-out life insurance proceeds into the joint account, four checks were allegedly written to cash by the suspect to himself for $76,449. Detectives also pulled surveillance camera footage from the bank showing the suspect cashing checks at the drive-up window of the bank.
Protecting Loved Ones From Financial Elder Abuse And Theft
Ultimately, it was the senior victim’s family that detected the alleged abuse in the reported case. That is often the case as seniors themselves may not be aware of what is happening to them. If your older loved one has in-home assistance of any kind make sure their credit and debit cards, jewelry, cash and other valuables are in a safe place away from reach. Keep financial information, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers away from a caregiver’s or other stranger’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. Most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.
Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in San Francisco or elsewhere in 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:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.