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Jun 11, 2024 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: The Professor, The Caregiver And The Missing $30 Million


Caregiver Takes $30 Million

Estate Attorneys Claim Coercion And Undue Influence

Protecting Older Loved Ones

Isolated seniors are vulnerable to financial exploitation from many directions.  Such isolated older persons are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation by caregivers.  The exploitation can be relatively minor in monetary terms in some cases but stretch to the older person’s entire estate in other cases/.  Rich and poor, men and women. Straight or LGBTQ, all seniors are potential victims with the caregiver or other stranger building a romantic relationship in order to prey upon the older person as a recent case discussed below illustrates.  If you are a family member or good friend of an isolated senior, do everything you can to protect them from this kind of manipulation and abuse. Never ever allow a senior loved one to give a caregiver a Power of Attorney or create a joint account with a caregiver or other stranger, stepchild or newfound “friend.”    Routinely monitor a senior’s bank accounts, check that the title of the accounts has not changed, and check where their Social Security or other benefit money is being deposited.  California 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.

Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Francisco, 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).

Recent Case Example[1]

In one estate case in the news, a wealthy professor died a few years ago and as his estate attorneys started to distribute his estate to the charities named in his Will, they discovered that all his fortune, estimated at $30 million, was gone.  As they pored over years of transfers and transactions, trying to figure out where the money had gone, they realized that all trails led to one person – his wife’s former caregiver.  The decedent had hired the caregiver several years before to care for his ailing wife.  Listening to the caregiver’s life story early on in the retirement, the elderly professor began to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to her bank account.  The amounts grew overtime.  By the time the elderly man died, his trustee discovered that 98% of his wealth had been transferred to the caregiver.  She’d taken trips with her family to France, Italy and Disney World and accumulated $2.5 million in charges—including more than $100,000 worth of jewelry—on the Visa card that the elderly man paid. She’d bought herself another Mercedes, a Jaguar and a Bentley, plus luxury vehicles for her son, daughter and sister. The elderly man had paid for the caregiver’s to attend three different universities and for her failed foray into growing medical marijuana.  The caregiver’s son lived in the elderly man’s home rent-free when the man and his wife moved to a care facility. Records showed there have been 391 money transfers over a ten-year period totaling $30 million.  A financial elder abuse lawsuit against the caregiver is now pending.

Protecting Older Loved Ones

Access to bank accounts, surreptitiously or by creating “joint” accounts, is a very common method of financial elder abuse.  By closely monitoring bank activity and having a system for alerts on all accounts family members of an older person should be able to catch suspicious activity.  Additionally, do not have cash accessible to any caregiver as there is no way you can police that remotely and if it’s gone, it’s gone. Unscrupulous caregivers of a senior may also cajole a senior into opening new or joint bank accounts that you will not know about.  Make it a hard and fast rule that your older loved one not making any bank or business trips without you present.  Monitor credit cards and bank accounts online as frequently as possible.  Have financial statements and important papers mailed to your own address so others do not have access to you loved one’s business mail.  Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver or nursing home staff member or allow your loved one to open a joint account with someone else.  Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters. 

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in San Francisco, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at 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.

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

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