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Jul 20, 2021 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Protecting Seniors From Caregiver Theft

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Agency Caregiver Accused Of Theft

Jewelry And Cash Disappeared

Police Suspect Caregiver Stole From Multiple Victims

A senior’s jewelry, cash, valuables, and credit cards can disappear quickly when an unscrupulous caregiver or stranger enters a senior’s home or room in a nursing home.  If such strangers have a little more time, checkbooks, bank account information and important papers can disappear too. These persons can gain access to a senior’s bank accounts via the phone or online if they just have enough information like date of birth and Social Security numbers.  Once a caregiver senses they are getting away something, they take larger and larger amounts and may reach for all a senior has.  We have even seen a case where after a caregiver had completely drained a senior of funds, they arranged for the senior to borrow against their home so the caregiver could take the loan proceeds too.  We have also seen cases where the same caregiver preys on multiple victims.  These predators may have committed financial elder abuse in the past; agencies and facilities are not s as thorough in vetting hires as they should be.  Care agencies are scrambling for aides as baby boomers get older, and the vetting process may be even less thorough in the years to come.  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 San Francisco or elsewhere California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Caregiver Theft In The News

In one recently reported case,[1] police have arrested a caregiver on allegations of stealing jewelry from her elderly clients, and investigators believe she may have numerous victims. According to police, the suspect was an aide placed by a caregiver agency as an additional caregiver for institutionalized seniors.  One of her patients, a woman in her 80s, reported to the police that several pieces of her jewelry disappeared after receiving assistance from the caregiver in the patient’s room in the facility.  Detectives identified the suspect and report that the same individual was also under investigation for thefts in a neighboring county.  According to police, detectives raided the caregiver’s home and found numerous pieces of jewelry belonging to the nursing home victim and other items allegedly stolen from residents in another care facility in a neighboring county. The case is still pending.

Protecting Older Loved One From Theft

Below are a few important steps you can take to protect an older loved one from theft.  If you suspect a problem, 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. 

  • 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.
  • If your loved one is in a home, check out the citation history for the home on the California Department of Health’s website. If there is a history of citations against the facility consider placing your loved one in another home.  A history of past citations does not speak well of the administration of the facility and may mean trouble.
  • Whether you loved one is under the care of an in-home caregiver or has moved to a nursing facility, keep cash and jewelry out of reach of any caregiver or care facility aides at all times.
  • Always keep Social Security numbers and account numbers in a secure place, off limits to any in-home caregivers. Identity theft and impersonation of seniors over the phone and online is a real source of financial elder abuse once access is gained to accounts for withdrawals and transfers.
  • 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 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. You may want to redirect the mail to your home so others do not have access to it.
  • Speak to the senior alone, without the caregiver present, to find out any problems they may be having.

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one in 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 this case in any way.

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