Caregiver Accused Of Stealing $90,000 And Selling Victim’s House
Authorities Allege Caregiver Pressured Victim To Gain Access To Accounts
Caregiver Allegedly Bought New Car With Stolen Funds
Any older loved one in your family is probably the most vulnerable to theft when a caregiver enters his or home. Often, the theft starts out in relatively small amounts of missing cash or unauthorized purchases. But once a caregiver senses they are getting away with the theft, they take larger and larger amounts and may resort to forging, intimidation, identity theft and more to take more and more from the senior. The abuse can be quick or can last over years and add up into the millions. We have seen cases where the caregiver drains all of a senior’s bank accounts, accesses retirement benefits and life insurance, causes estate planning documents to be changed in their favor, and has a senior’s house deeded to them or encumbered with a loan or reverse mortgage so the caregiver can take the proceeds. The best way to prevent this kind of economic devastation is to vet anyone who enters the senior’s home thoroughly, stay involved in a senior’s life, look for signs of abuse and get help at the very first instance you suspect something is wrong. Sadly, many families do not discover the extent of financial elder abuse of their loved one until he or she is gone. Either way, we can help pursue any caregiver, and the agency he or she works for, if your loved one has been the victim of financial abuse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Mateo County, San Francisc0 or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Accused Of Theft
In one recently reported caregiver case, authorities accuse a senior’s caregiver of stealing more than $90,000 from the senior, including selling the victim’s home and taking the sales proceeds. Authorities accuse the caregiver of taking control of her homebound elderly patient’s bank and retirement accounts after learning the patient had no family to protect her. Investigators say the caregiver got most of the money by forging the woman’s signature on bank withdrawal slips. The caregiver is also accused of facilitating the sale of the woman’s home. Investigators say the care provider convinced the woman that it was in her best interest but then kept a large portion of the proceeds. Investigators say the caregiver stole the money over a three-month period and used it to buy a Chevy Tahoe, among other things. Investigators also revealed that when the caregiver found out about the investigation, she forced her victim to sign a note saying she willingly gave her the money to buy the Tahoe.
Questions For In-Home Caregiver Agencies
Keeping unscrupulous caregivers like the one in the reported case out of a senior’s life starts with the hiring process. Most families find in-home caregivers through agencies. When choosing an agency to work with for caregiver assignments, ask these questions:
- How do you vet your employees?
- Get references and check them.
- Do you run a nationwide or countywide criminal search, conduct drug screening, and/or perform a credit check for new hires?
- How often are drug screenings and criminal searches repeated on existing employees?
- Are all employees subject to the same standards? (For example, are office staff members also required to pass a background check?)
- Do you bond your caregivers?
- What is the bond amount?
- What is the procedure for filing a complaint?
- What is the procedure for investigating a complaint?
Warning Signs Of Caregiver Theft And Financial Abuse
Once a caregiver is in the home, watch for signs of theft or abuse:
- Bills Increase. If grocery shopping and normal errands are among the caregiver’s responsibilities, it’s pretty easy for a personal item or two to make it onto your loved one’s credit card. The same holds true when going out to eat. Don’t let even the smallest transactions pass without scrutiny, as the caregiver may be testing the waters to see what he or she can get away with.
- Frequent Cell Phone Use. If a caregiver is constantly on the phone, this could mean that he or she is not giving the requisite time to your loved one, or worse, planning with others how to steal from your loved one. Always run a background check on a caregiver before he or she is employed.
- Getting Too Personal. Some thieves will plan a scam to “prime the pump” by seducing the elderly with lots of affection until she or he becomes emotionally dependent upon the caregiver. The elderly person will try to reciprocate the affection by giving expensive gifts, or worse, paying for the caregiver’s expenses like rent and food. Here it is important to ensure that your loved one has daily interactions with people who are not their caregivers.
- Bids for Sympathy. The “getting too personal” phase may quickly rise into the “bids for sympathy” phase. The caregiver may concoct stories of the caregiver’s own family members who are in dire need of medical care, but do not have the resources to pay for that care. By planting the seed they hope that the elderly person under their care will offer money to help.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor by a new “friend” of the senior, a second spouse, caregiver, or other person in San Mateo County, San Francisco, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 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.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.