Jail Sentence For Defrauding Seven Seniors
Caregiver’s Third Conviction For Financial Elder Abuse
Investigation Lasted Twenty Months
Financial elder abuse is sometimes a single event or transaction but more commonly it is a sustained scheme playing out over time. Either way, each and every act of financial elder abuse is a crime, and taking or assisting in taking a senior’s property grounds for civil liability too. See Cal. Penal Code § 368 (crime of elder abuse) and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse for civil liability purposes). The abuser may target a single senior or several. Caregivers with access to a senior’s cash, jewelry, credit and ATM cards and financial accounts are often the culprits. Agencies employing them often fail to vet their staffs as they should and cases, like the one discussed, below, of multiple offenders are not that uncommon. That’s why we recommend whenever you use an agency for in-home caregiver placement you check out the assigned caregivers (and the agency) yourself. Every single time a stranger or caregiver enters a senior’s home or their room in a nursing home or assisted care facility, the opportunity for financial abuse is there. Unscrupulous aides, caregivers, or others will grab anything they can and, if it’s credit cards, use them quickly for unauthorized purchases, cash advances, or for paying their own bills. The economic damages from stolen cards or identity theft/online account access escalates quickly. Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. has years of experience in investigating financial elder abuse cases and untangling the financial manipulation of seniors. She helps the victim and the victim’s family recover money or property taken by caregivers, strangers, girlfriends or boyfriends or second spouses, trustees, conservators and others and pursues all available remedies including recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing a case. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5. If you or someone you know is a victim of financial elder abuse here in San Mateo County or elsewhere in California, call us today at 415-441-8669, and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Caregiver Sentenced To Four Years In Jail
In one reported caregiver case, an aide who allegedly stole money, checks and credit cards from at least seven elderly residents at two assisted living facilities has been sentenced to four years in county jail, the California Attorney General’s Office recently announced. According to authorities, the caregiver had two prior convictions for financial elder abuse for which she was sentenced to a five years probation and barred from working with the elderly. Despite the two prior convictions and the bar, she was able to work with senior citizens by using her sister’s identity and threatened her sibling in order to use her identifying information, according to prosecutors. Once hired, she used her position as an aide to enter patients’ rooms where she allegedly took IDs, credit cards, checks, and cash from victims’ rooms, then used the stolen funds to buy merchandise from various retail stores. The total loss was valued at around $18,000, according to the AG’s office. Between 2018 and 2019, the AG’s received multiple referrals from the local Sheriff regarding several residents living at the two facilities where she worked who reported having money and checks stolen from their rooms. A 20-month investigation confirmed that defendant was employed at those two assisted living facilities during the time of each reported crime, and was responsible for the thefts according to the AG’s complaint.
“Stealing from senior citizens doesn’t only rob them of their cash, it robs them of their independence and endangers their overall financial health,” California Attorney General Bonta said in announcing the sentencing. “Today’s sentencing is a step towards justice for those whose money and belongings were stolen from them. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to protect our elders, and all other vulnerable communities, against financial exploitation.”
Keeping Loved Ones Safe
If you have an older loved one in a nursing home or assisted care facility, make sure they never have any accessible cash, checks or credit cards in their room. Keep their jewelry and valuable personal possessions in a safe place too. Even if you think you have all their bank and credit card information secure, continue to monitor credit cards and bank accounts online. Make sure financial statements are mailed to your own address so others do not have access to you loved one’s business mail. Also, make sure that financial information like account numbers and Social Security numbers are kept away from a caregiver’s glance. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver or nursing home staff member. Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters. You can be there to protect them from outright theft and the problems they may get into if they are sold an unsuitable investment or insurance product like an annuity. Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.
Ingrid M. Evans and the other elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm represent victims of financial elder abuse here in San Mateo County and throughout California. If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend, or neighbor, call Ingrid the other Evans Law Firm elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.