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Sep 22, 2022 by |

Sonoma County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Retirement Home Nurse Arrested For Theft From 97-Year-Old Patient

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Alleged Fraudulent Purchases On Debit Card

Victim Resident In Senior Living Community

Victim Noticed Suspicious Charges On Statement

Many of the reported cases of dishonest caregivers stealing from seniors occur in the senior’s own home when a dishonest in-home caregiver has access to financial records, checks, credit cards and cash in the home.  But seniors living in nursing homes and retirement communities are also at risk of financial elder abuse by dishonest caregivers and staff as a recently reported arrest, discussed below, illustrates. 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 Sonoma County or elsewhere in California call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Caregiver Arrested For Unauthorized Debit Card Purchases

In a recently reported case, [1] a nurse and caregiver on the staff of a senior living community has been arrested and charged with stealing a resident’s debit card to make more than $2,200 in unauthorized purchases. A police investigation began when the victim, a 97-year-old resident of an assisted living community, contacted the community’s security team to report his debit card stolen. The security team called police. The victim reported that when he received his bank statement he noticed several charges he did not make. He then checked his wallet and found his debit card missing, police say. The total for all the fraudulent transactions were $2233.21, according to police. The investigation determined that one of the purchases was a $10 Little Caesars pizza order, police say. The name on the order was similar to a name of a nurse at the facility, who served as the victim’s overnight nurse, police say.  Investigators later obtained photographs of the suspect leaving a Target store, where she had allegedly made purchases with the 97-year-old man’s debit card.  Charges against the suspect are pending.

Protecting Older Loved Ones From Financial Abuse

The reported case illustrates how a dishonest caregiver with access to a senior’s wallet can quietly remove a debit or credit card (possibly during the night) without immediate detection.  Fortunately the victim in the case was still capable of reviewing his own bank statements and caught the unauthorized use of his stolen card.  Not all 97-year-old facility patients can still monitor their own accounts. That’s where their families can help.  Keep a close (DAILY) eye on a senior’s bank accounts online or on your phone.  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 Sonoma 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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