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Dec 22, 2022 by |

San Mateo County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: How Caregivers May Use Joint Accounts To Take Money From Seniors


Dishonest Caregivers Getting “Added” To Patients’ Accounts

Befriending Patients And False Representations

How Families Can Protect Seniors

Seniors are at risk of being financially exploited from many directions, including at the hands of dishonest in-home caregivers.  The methods for financially exploiting seniors vary from straight theft of cash or checks, forgeries, and unauthorized bank account transfers to more elaborate (or harder to detect) schemes like manipulation of estate planning documents, altering benefit deposit instructions, secretive phone calls impersonating the senior with banks or other institutions, or use of powers of attorney to illegally transact business.  The most reliable way to protect your older loved ones from any form of exploitation is to keep a senior’s financial, business and money well away from any such persons. And whatever you do, not to invite them in on any financial or business matters related to the senior. Never ever allow a senior loved one to give a caregiver a Power of Attorney or create a joint account with a caregiver.    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.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Mateo County or anywhere in the Bay Area 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).

Arrest For Financial Exploitation

In one recently reported case,[1] a woman has been charged with swindling a senior out of nearly $57,000 last year. The suspect faces charges of felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, theft by false representation and theft by swindle charges.  According to court records, the defendant allegedly took an elderly woman dementia that she cared for to a bank where the caregiver had herself added to the senior’s bank accounts and withdrew $55,858.42. She told the bank’s employees the money would go into a joint account at another bank.  In fact, according to police, defendant later used $50,000 on her mortgage and put the remainder into a new bank account in her name only, according to charges. Financial records later showed the victim had to pay another $978 because money was prematurely withdrawn from some accounts.  The victim’s doctor told police she’s suffering from “dense dementia” and has “cognitive defects,” according to court documents.

Accessing Bank Accounts

The reported case illustrates an alleged outright fraud on bank personnel in person by a caregiver. Surreptitious online access to bank accounts is another way caregivers and others take a senior’s property.  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 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.  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 Mateo County, or elsewhere in California, 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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