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May 12, 2024 by |

Sonoma County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Dependent Person


Caregiver And Her Husband Arrested

71-Year-Old Victim With Cerebral Palsy

Thousands Of Dollars In Unauthorized Purchases

Unauthorized use of an elderly or dependent person’s debit and credit cards is a frequently recurring form of financial elder and dependent adult abuse.  Sometimes the cases involve actual use of the physical cards at stores but the unauthorized purchases can also be made online by using a senior’s cared number or other personal, financial information including account numbers, PINs and birth dates.   Whatever the “form” or frequency or size of financial elder abuse, any 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).   In a recent case discussed below, a caregiver was charged with financial elder abuse along with her husband who allegedly assisted her in the financial 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 abuse or neglect in Santa Clara County or elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Case Example

In one reported case, [1] a former home health care provider pleaded guilty for her role in using bank and credit cards of a dependent man for personal purchases. The caregiver was previously arrested along with her husband, and accused of using bank and credit cards for a 71-year-old man at various stores racking up more than $8,200 in purchases, according to court records.  The caregiver was a home health care provider assisting the man diagnosed with cerebral palsy, court records say.  Police were notified of the alleged thefts when the caregiver failed to show for her shift at the man’s residence one day. After an investigation, police in court records say the caregiver and her husband used the man’s bank and credit cards at fast food restaurants, pet stores, department stores, gasoline service stations and auto repair stores.  The caregiver pleaded guilty to access device fraud and criminal conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property.  She could face up to seven years in prison.  Court records say her husband is scheduled for trial before in May on multiple charges of access device fraud, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.  He reportedly told police he held onto the cards and the purchases were a mistake, court records say.

Protecting Seniors From Financial Abuse

Always do a background check on any caregiver before he or she is hired.  Ask for references and check them.  Once the caregiver is on the job have the timecards sent to you so you can verify their accuracy. There are other important steps to follow as well to prevent more elaborate schemes of financial abuse. Careful monitoring of a senior’s checking account – and close review of cancelled checks – may have caught the reported fraud in this case sooner than eight or nine months.  Always monitor a senior loved one’s checking account; take a look at it online every day if you can. Never, ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney, credit card, or a blank check.  Stay involved in any senior loved one’s life so a stranger does not have the opportunity for this kind of theft and exploitation. 

Contact Us

If you sense any kind of abuse of an older loved one in Santa Clara County or elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, 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 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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