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Sep 27, 2022 by |

Santa Clara County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Police Charge Caregiver With Theft And Fraud Offenses

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Suspect Is Home Health Aid For 90-Year-Old Victim

Caregiver Allegedly Used Debit Cards For $26,000 In Purchases

Victim’s Family Alerts Police Of Suspicious Activity

Dishonest caregivers with access to credit cards and debit cards of their elderly patients may quickly use the cards for unauthorized purchases and withdrawals.  Greedy caregivers may use those cards in stores, at ATM machines or online for online purchases and transfers.  Unauthorized charges can add up quickly as the case discussed below illustrates.  Whatever the amount or mode of such theft, any wrongful taking of a senior’s property, or any assistance in that taking, is a crime and grounds for civil liability of the person doing the taking and anyone assisting him or her. California Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). California broadly defines what constitutes financial elder or dependent adult 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.

If you or a loved one is a victim of elder or dependent adult financial 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).

Home Health Aide Arrested For Theft And Fraud

In a recently reported case, [1] a longtime home health aide who allegedly made about $26,000 in fraudulent charges on a patient’s debit cards has been arrested and charged with theft, financial elder abuse, and fraud.  The home health aide is accused of using two debit cards belonging to the 90-year-old victim to rack up the bills, according to a four-month investigation led by Detectives.  The victim and his daughter first alerted police about the fraudulent transactions in April, according to the affidavit of probable cause.  His daughter helped file the report “due to (the victim’s) declining mental capability,” the affidavit reads.  The fraudulent charges included Lyft trips and bank withdraws, which were caught on surveillance footage, according to Detectives.  The aide’s Lyft account led the investigation to a gmail account under a fictitious name. A search of emails sent there included transactions that matched the victim’s bank statements.

Protecting Older Loved Ones From Financial Abuse

Fortunately, the victim’s family in the reported case alerted authorities before the unauthorized charges on the victim’s card got even larger.  Dishonest caregivers rarely just stop on their own. We encourage families to stay involved in their older loved one’s affairs earlier, especially if they are under the care of in-home caregivers and help protect them from financial exploitation. There are some specific steps you should take for their protection:  Always do a background check on anyone you hire as a caregiver; get references and call them. Never allow a caregiver access to checks, cash or credit cards.  Even if you have checks under lock and key continue to monitor a senior’s account online as online or phone access may also redirect their money to a caregiver’s accounts or the senior’s money may be used to pay a caregiver’s bills online. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, credit card, or a blank check. 

Contact Us

If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Santa Clara County or anywhere else in the Bay Area or throughout the State of California, call us right away.  Ingrid M. Evans has years of experience in representing seniors and their families against abusers of any kind, including in-home caregivers.  You can reach us at (415) 441-8669, or by email at info@evanslaw.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

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

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