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Feb 12, 2022 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Understanding Caregiver Fraud

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Financial Elder Abuse Is A Public Health Concern

When Elder Financial Exploitation Occurs

How To Prevent And Detect Caregiver Fraud

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared elder abuse a public health concern some years ago, citing a significant increase in cases of elder abuse detailing the ways in which elder abuse correlates with early, untimely death. Financial elder abuse, in particular, can lead to neglect and cause severe psychological distress.  Financial elder abuse may involve:

  • Fraudulent withdrawals or purchases at an elder’s expense.
  • Unauthorized changes to an elder’s will or power of attorney.
  • Caregivers getting involved with financial duties, such as paying bills, getting cash for seniors from ATMs, or going shopping with a senior’s credit card.

Caregiver fraud (or any form of financial elder abuse) is a crime and grounds for civil liability against the person who took the property and anyone assisting them.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30(a)(1) and (2).  Financial elder abuse is broadly defined under California law:

(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 in San Francisco or throughout 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).

When Elder Financial Exploitation Occurs

According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 36% of all financial elder abuse cases involve theft by caregivers or fiduciaries. Elder exploitation by caregivers and fiduciaries can be the costliest form of financial elder abuse, with victims experiencing average loss of approximately $45,000.00 to $85,000.00.  Unfortunately, these statistics do not sufficiently portray the prevalence of elder financial exploitation, as many cases go unreported for a variety of reasons. Seniors may avoid reporting fraud out of embarrassment, fear of retaliation, inability to voice concerns, or desire to protect the guilty individual. Additionally, memory or sight-impaired seniors may be more easily manipulated by the caregivers on which they rely.  To make matters worse, the severity and frequency of theft from seniors increases over time.

Protecting Older Loved Ones

The risk of elder financial exploitation may be mitigated by carefully screening caregivers. Run background checks and get and check references before hiring any in-home caregiver whether individually or through an agency.  Once the caregiver is in the home, keep an eye on all of your older loved ones’ accounts. Change the mailing address for bank statements so that they come to you instead of the older person’s home where strangers can see account numbers. Do not allow any caregiver access to cash, credit cards and ATM cards, checks, and financial information.  Keep jewelry, guns, silver and other valuable possessions in a safe place.  Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver.  Do not 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. Caregivers are employed to provide care alone not to be involved in financial matters.  If a caregiver appears to be nosey about finances or getting too intimate with a senior, watch out.  If you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor 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 pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for the victim or his or her family. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.

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"I contacted Attorney Ingrid Evans for advice about a financial elder abuse case. She was extremely knowledgeable, bright and informative. I highly recommend her. I am an attorney myself, and know when I am talking to a another excellent attorney."
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