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Oct 9, 2022 by |

Santa Clara County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Sentenced For From Couple In Their 90s

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Wrote Victims’ Checks To Herself

Zelle Transfers To Her Own Account

Online Payments For Caregiver And Husband

Often a dishonest caregiver with access to a senior’s cash or bank accounts steals in relatively small amounts.  If the caregiver believes he or she is getting away with their theft, the amounts will likely increase over time and can drain large amounts of money from the senior’s bank accounts until there’s little left.  Whatever the amount or duration, financial elder abuse is a crime and grounds for civil liability for the person taking the money and anyone assisting them.  Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial abuse). If a senior or dependent person is a victim of financial elder abuse, Evans Law Firm. Inc. can represent the victim and his or her family, and pursue all persons responsible, including anyone assisting in the abuse.  We will pursue all available remedies including an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing suit.  Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Santa Clara County or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Caregivers Sentenced For Stealing $300,000 From Elderly Couple

In a recently reported case,[1] a caregiver has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for stealing nearly $300,000 from a couple in their 90s.  According to court records, the caregiver wrote and forged the victim’s signature on checks payable to herself, her family members and her creditors, initiated Zelle transfers to her own bank account, and made electronic payments from the victims’ accounts to her and her husband’s numerous credit card accounts.  According to court records, the caregiver worked for the elderly couple for three years full time and received regular holiday bonuses and was compensated for expenses.

“Like a child sneaking treats from a cookie jar, the defendant started out taking only small amounts out of the victims’ accounts when she thought no one was looking,” according to the sentencing memorandum. “However, her unrestricted access to the victims’ finances proved too tempting, and she quickly began stealing thousands of dollars from the elderly couple each month. The defendant stole so much from the victims over that short time that the victims, who have worked, invested, and saved their whole lives to secure a comfortable retirement, are now facing financial insecurity and cannot provide for their own families as they had planned.”  According to a sentencing memorandum, the caregiver used “most of the money she stole playing bingo several times a week, dining out, and paying for her daughter’s wedding reception at a local event space.  She also used a sizable chunk of the money she stole to pay part of the down payment on her new house and later bought herself a new air conditioner, windows, and fencing for that house on the victims’ dime.”

Keeping Older Loved Ones Safe

This case illustrates one piece of advice we constantly offer – never, ever let a caregiver get involved in an older person’s financial affairs.  Ever.  Under no circumstances.  A caregiver is there to provide health care and assistance with daily living activities, NOT financesNever, ever grant a power of attorney or a blank check or a credit or debit card to a caregiver or nursing home staff member. Never allow access to financial or personal information like Social Security Numbers, PINs, or bank account information.  Never give a caregiver (or anyone else for that matter) a blank check for anything.  Monitor all of a senior’s credit cards and bank accounts online.  Every day. Track where your loved one’s Social Security and pension benefits are being deposited.  Every month.  Have financial statements mailed to your address so others do not have access to you loved one’s business mail.    Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away.  

Contact Us

If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Santa Clara County, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at info@evanslaw.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible.

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

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