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Dec 12, 2021 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Couple Allegedly Used Power Of Attorney To Steal From Dementia Sufferer

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Victim Suffered From Alzheimer’s

$117,000 In Suspicious Transactions In Bank Account

Audit Uncovers Misuse Of Power Of Attorney

Financial Powers of Attorney (POAs) grant the agent acting under them broad powers over virtually all of a principal’s financial affairs and allow access to bank accounts.  See Cal. Prob. Code §§ 4401 (financial POA).  The potential for abuse of such authority and access is always present so whenever you grant an individual a POA make sure it is a person you trust.  Never, ever, grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver.  At Evans Law Firm, Inc. we recommend that seniors appoint two trusted individuals as agents so that joint action is required for all transactions, further safeguarding a principal from any one individual’s potential misuse of the POA. Misuse of a Power of Attorney is grounds for civil liability of twice any amounts taken, and also attorneys’ fees awards for the victim. Probate Code § 4231.5.  Where the principal is a senior such misuse also constitutes criminal and civil financial elder abuse.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30. If an agent has misused a POA to your or an older loved one’s detriment in San Francisco or elsewhere in California call us at (415)441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent Arrest For Theft By Power Of Attorney

In one recent case,[1] a couple has been arrested for conspiring to use a power-of-attorney authorization to steal $80,170 from a woman suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.  An initial investigation by authorities has uncovered more than $117,000 suspicious transactions in the victim’s bank account and noted that the victim’s money had been used for personal purchases by the POA agent and her husband and not for the principal’s care. Major alleged misappropriations listed in the arrest affidavit included $26,116 in cash withdrawals, $47,722 in credit card bills, $6,253 for clothing and $4,008 for shopping. The suspects are also charged with taking portions of the victim’s monthly income checks and using the money to pay their own heating bills.  The police affidavit also describes money used by the suspects for automobile expenses even though the victim did not own a car and also money spent by the suspects while on vacation out of state.  The arrested suspects are awaiting arraignment and the complaint and police affidavit are solely allegations at this point.

Civil Recourse for Victims And Families

Evans Law Firm, Inc. has represented victims and their families in cases with very similar facts as set forth in the reported case.  We pursue all persons responsible for this kind of abuse of an elder.  In addition to prohibiting straight out misappropriation of funds, California law also prohibits an agent from designating beneficiaries or creating future (or survivorship) interests in the principal’s property unless specifically authorized to do so in a POA.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4264.  The agent is strictly prohibited from making or revoking the principal’s Will. Cal. Prob. Code § 4265.  Misuse of a POA to commit any such wrongful or unauthorized acts renders the transactions void and also makes the offending agent liable for attorneys’ fees when the principal sues for the abuse.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4231.5(c).

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans can represent you if an agent has misused a Power of Attorney granted by you or an older loved one.  If you need help, call us today at 415-441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Ingrid will pursue all remedies available against the agent, including attorneys’ fees and expenses for the older person required to bring an action based on the agent’s wrongful conduct.

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.

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