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Financial Elder Abuse
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Financial elder abuse occurs when people cheat senior citizens out of their money or their property. Such elder exploitation can be committed by people the senior knows, such as family members, or complete strangers. Elder abuse cases are often underreported, for a number of reason, but seniors who are victims of financial elder exploitation can file lawsuits to recover their lost money and property.
Financial exploitation of seniors occurs when a person is victimized because the senior's age makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Seniors are vulnerable to crime because they may be dependant on other people for their care or because they are not capable of fully understanding their financial situation. Unfortunately, financial elder abuse may be committed by people the senior loves and trusts, such as children, or by strangers looking to profit from another person's vulnerability.
Financial Elder Abuse Law
Anyone who is in a position of trust, control or authority and uses that position to profit from the senior's dependence or vulnerability may be guilty of financial elder abuse.
Financial Elder Abuse by Family Members or Caregivers
Senior citizens may be victimized by their children, grandchildren, spouses, siblings or caregivers. Such activities may involve unauthorized use of the senior's funds or properties, including stealing cash, income checks or household items, forging the senior's signature, identity theft, convincing the senior the sign over property or money, or threatening not to care for the senior unless he signs over property or money.
According to a 2003 study by the National Center on Elder Abuse, two thirds of elder abuse cases are committed by a family member.
One of the most high-profile court cases regarding financial elder abuse involved Brooke Astor and her son, Anthony D. Marshall. Marshall was accused by Astor's friends and other family members of creating a fraudulent will that increased his inheritance by tens of millions of dollars when Astor, a New York socialite and philanthropist, was not capable of understanding the changes to her will.
The New York Times (12/21/09) reports Marshall was found guilty and sentenced to one to three years in prison for first-degree grand larceny. The grand larceny charge stemmed from Marshall giving himself a retroactive lump-sum raise of approximately $1 million as compensation for managing Astor's finances.
Financial elder abuse can also be perpetrated by people the senior does not know. This includes identity theft, investment fraud, phony charities or convincing the senior to buy something he cannot or will not use, such as a lifetime membership to a gym.
Financial Elder Abuse by Strangers
Although most instances of financial elder abuse involve someone known to the victim, some financial abuse occurs in the form of scams. Seniors may be victimized by email or telephone scams, sweetheart scams, investment scams, home repair scams or other types of scams designed to steal the senior's money.
Elder Financial Scams
Some common scams include strangers contacting the senior by telephone or email and requesting money being paid up front as taxes on lottery winnings or a deposit on helping someone escape from a corrupt country. The senior pays money up front with the expectation of receiving more money in the future, but the money is never sent. If a check is sent to the senior, it may be deposited into the account but the check later bounces and the senior is liable for the insufficient funds
A similar scam that is done in person is known as a pigeon drop, in which the scammer approaches the senior and flashes money in front of him, claiming not to know what to do with the money. The scammer asks the senior to hold onto the money after the senior gives the scammer some money in good faith. The scammer takes off with the good faith money and the senior is left with worthless paper.
Seniors may also be victims to a variety of investment or loan scams, including Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and real estate scams. Frequently, these investments come with the promise of massive interest and a 100 percent guarantee on return of the investment. Investments can involve anything from real estate to foreign currency to personal loans to gold mines. These investment schemes may be perpetrated by a trusted friend or an investment consultant.
Seniors may be victimized by a sweetheart swindle, in which the perpetrator agrees to marry or befriend the senior. The scammer will claim to be coming into money, but needs a loan to pay for a family emergency, promising to pay it back once the money appears. The senior may give the money—or sometimes the title to their house—and the scammer takes off.
Perpetrators of elder abuse may disguise themselves as employees of a utility company and use that to gain entry to the senior's home. Once inside, they may steal from the senior or distract the senior so someone else can gain entry to the home and take the senior's belongings.
Other scams targeting seniors include funeral and cemetery fraud, in which funeral homes add unnecessary charges and fees to a funeral; fraudulent anti-aging products, in which bogus products are sold to seniors to prevent aging; and reverse mortgage scams, in which scammers steal equity from a senior or use the senior to steal equity from another property.
For elderly people who have fallen victim to financial elder abuse, a lawsuit can provide a variety of remedies. First, the victim can recover money that was taken or can recover property itself, such as when a valuable item is taken. Second, victims can recover attorney's fees because the statute protecting elderly citizens provides for attorney's fees in a lawsuit. Third, although rare, victims may be able to recover punitive damages.
Financial Elder Abuse Lawsuits
The National Center of Elder Abuse notes that approximately 1 in 25 financial elder abuse victims ever report the abuse, suggesting that there may be at least five million financial abuse victims every year. The senior may be embarrassed at having been victimized or may be conflicted if the perpetrator is a family member or close friend. The senior may also fear retaliation or believe that if he reports the abuse, no one will take care of him. Usually, it falls to family members who become suspicious that their loved one has been cheated or a friend who notices unusual behavior to contact authorities.
Following are some signs that financial elder abuse may be occurring:
Signs of Financial Elder Abuse
Every state has at least one toll-free number—either an elder abuse hotline or helpline—that people can call to report elder abuse. California has the Elder Abuse Act, which provides a remedy for elders who have been financially abused.
Elder Abuse Laws
Financial Elder Abuse Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
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Frederick B. Bradley
I have a concern that my mother attorney may be holding one of her life insurance benefit check of 75 thousand dollars to give to her only monthly payment plans. Is it legal for any attorney to hold on funds from a life insurance policy? The check was mailed to the attorney office and we were initially told that she would call us to put the money into her bank account. The check is wrote out to my mother and she has no right to control her money.
Believe my sister has significantly committed financial exploitation from my mother. My mother used to call or write to me (I live out of state). But then without any notice I discovered my sister had coerced my mother into selling her home and doing a total renovation of her home and now has my mother living with her. Despite letters, cards, etc. my mother in the last 9 months has not responded. It should be noted that I have been told that my sister screams & yells at my mother and has, previously, had my mother (90+years old) serve a babysitter, money-provider to her grandchildren (3 from 3 different father - 1 a violet offender) - daughter is a convicted felon. My mother should not live like this. Now people I know are telling me that my sister is going around town telling everyone "her & I don't see eye to eye" - I'll make it clear we have no contact - so I believe she's trying to cover up her dastardly deeds. Even the former property appraiser was alarmed that my mother was putting her property in my sister's name without my knowledge.
I have concerns that my grandmothers power of attorney is not acting in her best interest for she was just almost evicted from her nursing home for non payment of six months, what can I do
A young man has been telling me lies why I had to turn 2 houses over into his name. He has taken all my personal possessions and changed the locks on my house so I cannot get into my house. He has also taken my pistol and U S mail. I am in desperate need of help as he has pushed me into severe depression.
My dear friend has been financially exploited by her daughter. She had been like a mother to me for 42 years. I traveled to Fl every 3 months to visit her. She had age related dementia, so we arranged to have caretakers stay with her. She had the financial means to remain in her home. The caretakers loved her and reported the abuse to me. Her daughter had drained her account and continued to take the majority of her monthly income. My friend and I attempted to set up an appointment with her financial advisor, who said, "This is like a divorce. I will not get involved." She and I tried to set up an appointment with her lawyer. He informed us that he had a conflict of interest, as we discovered that her daughter was attempting to acquire guardianship over her mother to place her in an Alzheimer's unit. She had been working with another lawyer in the firm.) We contacted her doctor, who found her to be functioning better than she had been functioning the year before and at least kept her out of an Alzheimer's Unit. I took her to another lawyer, who sent all of the financial exploitation documents to her daughter. Her daughter then contacted my friend's law office and had a new Power of Attorney drawn up, permitting her to perform all of the forms of abuse that I had cited. My friend had signed the new Power of Attorney. I called the Social Service. The social worker would not return my calls. My friend was suddenly removed from her home and placed in an assisted living facility. My husband and I flew down to visit her unannounced. Her tiny efficiency apartment was filthy. She had few possessions remaining and the pictures she did have remained dust covered and stacked on the floor behind her chair. Her daughter had refused to connect her computer to the internet, which she loved. When the staff recognized us from pictures, we were asked to leave, being told that it was private property and her daughter had Power of Attorney. She sobbed as we left and I knew that that would be the last time that I would ever see her again. Since that visit, her daughter had her phone number tapped and then changed. I received many threatening letters from her daughter's lawyer. I have no way of knowing if she is still in that facility or still alive. Not only did her daughter financially exploit her, she was verbally abusive towards her mother. Florida does not protect their elderly. Not being a blood relative, we learned that we had no recourse. Everyone tell us that we must report elder abuse, but when we did absolutely nobody stepped in to help us. It is a deplorable situation.
Adrianne V. Leake
Youngest "sister" exploited fathers acct. with a fraudulent POA, (dementia with no compactly to understand what he was signing) disenfranchised mother, took her name off of accounts put hers on as if she were his wife...siphoned $ out of accts to ones with only her name. Dad died in May 2016, I've been dealing with the courts since 2013 , have prevailed @ every turn PO from 2013 to 2015 , been to court circuit & domestic 14 times !! She was ordered to return 28,000, judgement finally docketed by my (& mothers incompetent elder atty) I want criminal charges filed, have a mountain of evidence & BANK OF AMERICA is culpable in allowing the exploitation of my parents finances. Please help me! Next I will go to the media,,,!!
My sister-in-laws mother put her kids name on a deed for her house. The brother stole thousands and has felony charges pending, now he refuses to take his name off deed. And he committed bankruptcy fraud, have all paperwork and the Federal Court does nothing. Mother is unable to get back into her home, the son has been threatening her, she's afraid of him. Police do nothing, say: his name is on the deed, too bad, while he is living in the house, paying nothing...mother is still paying mortgage, utilities, taxes, etc...any help here?
My Mother was practically murdered by my Aunt Darlene in 2012(?) (it was right after christmas and newyears). Aunt swindled the home for cheap from my parents *After manipulation on Mom and her failing mind getting Mom to divorce my dad* then got on both their acc and got the money back as soon as they had it.
Mom had TONS of signs she was entering early stages of Dimensia. Darlene got PoA over my mom, Isolated her out in Chehalis away from me n my Father in Tacoma. Took all her money. Gave her 60$ a month to live on as she lied to her about the moving costs.
Darlene changed Moms life insurance which was going to me as I am the ONLY child.
Mom died weeks after because her body stopped making its own blood, she failed the test for receiving a bone marrow transplant. Darlene refused her the blood transfusion she needed to live and if she had all her money w/ her medical could afford without any issues.
We called to talk to her that night and Darlene picked up, mom wailing for us in agony in the background. She refused us contact and hung up. Next day she tells me moms dead. gets her cremated and took all she owned even her ashes. Offered to meet me half way out to olympia to give me a box of my moms coloring books only.
I've been looking for help getting justice against my Aunt Darlene since. I was suddenly made homeless as I used to care for my parents when this all started, Aunt even called APS on me who told her never to call on me again after investigating me. She told the family I beat my Mom. Darlene Isolated their youngest sister too my Aunt Darcy and stole her money during Darcys stroke before darcy took away her PoA. Darcy is still alive today because of that action. Darcy will testify against Darlene without hesitation. Darlene calls and emotionally abuses her on the phone daily trying to twist Darcys mind into believing Darcy is in the wrong.
When Mom died I was finally stable and taking care of my father who is currently dying and thankfully I have full PoA on him. Kept Darlene away from him or knowing his condition as best as I can.
I WANT my inheritances back, even the home was supposed to be mine. Darlene took all the money she gave them for the home saying they could stay there but I had to go. she gave them 30day notice to leave because I came over 2 times one week after a man attacked me weilding what was a Japanese looking short sword *already legally delt with that event*
My Aunt Darlene is a cold greedy Hormone pill addicted woman.
She got a face lift with moms n darcys cash and she is 73-74yrs old and now dont look it. I can't get my moms records thanks to new Hippa laws. I know for a fact however if anyone investigated Darlene Ruddy's, Darcy's and my mother Judiths financials for the past 6 years alone they would find MORE than what was needed to throw my aunt behind bars. She's gotten my Uncle Bobbys funds as well when I was younger.
If I can't be recompensed then I would like to see Darlene Ruddy with felony charges, possibly even murder neglect of elderly charges cus my mom took a whole day slowly dying in pain, I was told she called for me repeatedly as she was frightened. My mother was not ready for death. she died because of Darlenes excuse of not believing in Blood Transfusions.
I AM AN ELDERLY, DISABLED AND TERMINALLY ILL VETERAN IN MY 60'S. ALTHOUGH I HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILTY FOR A GUARANTEED LOAN VIA VETERANS AFFAIRS/ADMINISTRATION AND DID NOT NEED TO QUALIFY FOR ANY ALTERNATIVE FUNDING METHODS BY THE "SELLER" WHO WAS ACTING AS A DEALER IN PROVIDING MANUFACTURED HOMES FOR SALE AND SELL IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY CALIFORNIA. THIS COMPANY NOT ONLY CLAIMED THAT I DID NOT MEET THE CONVENTIONAL LENDING CRITERIA AND PRETENDED TO EXTEND A LOAN TO ME FROM THE COMPANY THE INTEREST RATE WAS 12.5 PERCENT (WHICH AMOUNTS TO USARY AND VIOLATES THE LAW OF LOAN SHARKING) THE VALUE OF THE HOME THEY SOLD ME WAS 30,000 LESS THAN THE PRICE THEY CLAIMED WAS THE VALUE AND COST OF THE HOME. THEY ADVERTISE IN LOCAL CIRCULARS 1/2 OF THE AMOUNT THEY WERE EXTORTING FROM ME, I NEVER SIGNED ANY DEEDS YET ONE WAS RECORDED 3 MONTHS AFTER I MOVED INTO THE HOME AND AFTER THE CLOSE OF ESCROW, I NEVER DID CHOOSE THE INSURANCE PROVIDER THEY GOT A QUOTE FROM WITHOUT MY CONSENT THEY INITIATED A POLICY WITH THIS COMPANY AND AFTER REVIEWING THE POLICY--- IT DID NOT PROTECT MY INTEREST NOR DID IT PROTECT ME AGAINST ANY LOSS, THE INSURANCE WAS NOT IN MY BEST INTEREST OR MY INTEREST WHATSOEVER. I ALSO HAVE HAD MY IDENTIY AND FAMILY IDENTITY (ESTATE AND INHERITENCE RIGHTS) HAVE BEEN BREACHED AND VIOLATED BY THE COMPANY AND ITS AGENTS WHO NOW ARE CLAIMING TO BE AN HEIR OR SOME TYPE OF RELATIVE/BENIFICIARY OF MY ESTATE. I SIMPLY ASKED THE COMPANY TO PROVIDE ME WITH A CONTRACT THAT I COULD READ AND INTERPRET A CONTRACT CLEAR AND CONSISE WITHOUT AMBIGUITY OR TERMINOLOGY THAT APPEARS TO BE COMMON EVERYDAY TERMS BUT LEGALLY MEAN SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT, I ALSO REQUESTED A CONTRACT IN WHICH I NOT ONLY COULD AGREE TO TERMS BUT I COULD ALSO NOT AGREE TO OTHER TERMS AND THOSE ISSUES WOULD BE WORKED OUT FAVORABLY FOR BOTH PARTIES BUT DEFINETELY NOT TO BE COERCED AND SCAMMED INTO SIGNING DOCUMENTS I DID NOT UNDERSTAND, DID NOT HAVE TIME TO REVIEW BEFORE SIGNING AND DID NOT INTEND TO GIVE ANY MORE CONSIDERATION THAN NECESSARY TO ACHIVE THE NECESSITY OF SHELTER. ULTIMATELY ROBBED OF MY CREDIT, MY MONEY THAT WAS EXTORTED AND INTEREST PAID ON A LOAN NEVER GIVEN AND NEVER FUNDED BY ANYONE OTHER THAN MYSELF.... AS ESCROW SHOWS THE ONLY DEPOSITS WERE ALL FUNDS GIVEN BY ME AND THE SECURITY AGREEMENT WAS LIQUIDATED AND ACTUALLY FUNDED THE LOAN THUS I GAVE THE SECURITY AGREEMENT AND THAT SECURITY FUNDED THE TRANSACTION THUS ALL PAYMENTS SHOULD HAVE BEEN RETURED TO ME THE CREATOR AND CREDITOR OF THE TRANSACTION
Please, everyone with elderly parents, PROTECT THEM !!! Our family is currently involved in several lawsuits due too the fact that our sibling has been exploiting our elderly parents for years, without our knowledge. Now everything is his and we are using the last of my Mother's money (my Father has passed) to fight him to get what is due our Mother. We feel the biggest exploitation is the "system". We have called so many agencies to help us, to no avail. We are quickly running out of money, no one will help and my Mom will be 90 yrs old in Dec and there does not seem to be an end in sight. If ANYONE knows someone that can help us, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will soon be desperate.
My 82-year-old father has a 62-year-old girlfriend that has been taking advantage of him financially and has been verbally abusing him. The family has done everything in our power to keep her away but she keeps coming around, and my father, even though we told him what she has been doing, continues to allow it. I don't know if he has dementia or she is somehow brain washing him. We do not know what to do.
A family member has engaged in a series of surreptitious actions that has caused my Mother to grant them a Power of Attorney; change her will to the benefit of their children; and caused her to unknowingly file a restraining order against her caregiver with the intent to cause her to move from her home in Florida to Pennsylvania where they live. In doing so, my Mother was left without proper care that put her in danger of physical and psychological injury.
Kidnapping at Savannah’s “hospital with a soul”
I rescued my aged mother, Kingsley Hubby, to Savannah from Connecticut, where she was relentlessly abused and exploited through the state’s probate courts, which allow elders to be imprisoned in their homes and nursing homes while their estates are attacked. It’s called “granny snatching.”
What Mom was rescued from
Kingsley’s loving caretakers were fired for trying to protect her. Verbally abused with her household full of threats and intimidation, her friends banished, Kingsley spent days in isolated torment, oft found on the floor in the morning, neglected at night.
The life she loved to lead of friends in for Scrabble, supper, wine and the crocodile guy on TV was turned into a living hell by those who seized power over her. Symbolizing how they felt for Kingsley, her once lovely house was allowed to deteriorate from water rot, all this without interference by the courts in deference to the powerful.
In the CT granny snatching system, abductions are resorted to, including from New York, Michigan, and now Georgia, with Kingsley Hubby’s kidnapping from St. Joseph’s, the hospital with a soul it says on the billboards.
Connecticut’s granny snatching system is so disastrous that Yale Law Professor, John Langbein, advises elders with money to establish residency in other states.
Because Kingsley was withdrawn from protection of law, there was no chance of restoring humane treatment, commanding me to rescue Mom aboard a medical bus for Savannah, where as a staff physician, I admitted her to St. Joe’s as a way station for an emergency guardianship hearing.
With fury I’d let the public know the hospital’s “cardiac institute” didn’t have any cardiologists in it, hospital officers allowed Kingsley’s pursuers to seize her in secrecy from her physicians at 2:30 AM February 29, 2012. This blocked the guardianship hearing from opening so she could be returned to CT for more torment as her estate was accessed.
The federal kidnapping stature
Kingsley’s abduction satisfied all elements of the federal kidnapping statute in that she was taken against her will; across state lines; knowingly in a clever middle of the night seizure; to raid her estate.
The door had to be opened
For Kingsley to be kidnapped at 2:30 AM her abductors had to be allowed in the door when properly run hospitals are locked tight.
As officials shunned their duty to prevent the catastrophe of handing an elder to her abusers, Kingsley was tossed in a motel for two hours, then flown back to CT to keep her from rescue at probate court that very day.
The legal authority relied upon was a living will that provided power only to turn off machines were Kingsley was terminally ill or irreversibly comatose. She had neither condition. Even if there were a legal authority—and there wasn’t--- end of life instruments mustn’t be used against elders who crafted them. And no legal instrument may block a judicial hearing called to consider an elder’s mistreatment.
An exhibited artist at the Lyme Museum, world class cook, who did repairs and started cars on cold mornings, solver of London Times crosswords, tremendous friend, wonderful wife to Frank Hubby and mother, Kingsley was treated as human baggage at an institution portraying itself as valuing human life.
In Kingsley’s ejection from hospital, no due diligence was performed to learn conditions that warranted her rescue, nor was there pretense of caring for her as a human being, thrown into prison like conditions 1000 miles away from her only progeny who loved her. Anguished for months, Kingsley died of a broken heart December 4, 2012, whereas she may have survived considerably longer if placed in a safe, supportive and loving environment arranged for her.
For Kingsley’s seamless journey to Savannah in a medical bus, with monitoring of vital signs and comfort care, an attempt was made to obtain a permanent restraining order to keep her from ever seeing me again.
With help by one of Connecticut’s great lawyers, Jeremiah Donovan, the effort was defeated, but not without the presiding judge erroneously stating I saw Mom only twice a year (the judge was referring to other relatives). Whereas, as terrible behaviors against Mom exploded, I literally commuted to Connecticut to ward off harm imposed upon her.
President Obama was wrong
In 2011, President Obama wrote: “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge” but in the granny snatching system, elders are locked up without charge.
Marilyn Plank, in her eighties, was seized from her farm in Michigan and flown to Connecticut, where Greenwich probate court placed her under a guardianship. Though not a citizen of that state, she was imprisoned in a locked facility that charged her $9,000/month while multiple lawyers billed $300-400/hour. It took upwards of a year to free Marilyn.
No hospital that allows
Although officers of St. Joe’s didn’t realize it, a kidnapping is the taking of the life the victim wishes to live. But the officers claimed to decide Kingsley Hubby didn’t have the right to be free from abuse and neglect; and must be returned to imprisonment in Connecticut, no matter the suffering to come.
No hospital that allows an elder to be placed in a cauldron of mistreatment may be considered wholesome until the public is told why policies bearing on patient safety were thrown over; until the hospital board is re-constituted for giving tacit approval of what was done to Kingsley Hubby; the leadership and culture permitting the kidnapping is replaced; apology is made to staff for the black mark placed on the hospital; and safeguards are instituted to prevent a kidnapping from ever happening there again.
What will it take for Connecticut to be safe?
With husband Frank, Kingsley put down roots in Connecticut in the late 1940’s and assumed she’d be kept safe, but her life and security were sacrificed for pieces of silver in a zone carved by government, where law and constitutional rights don’t apply.
As long as Connecticut elders are subject to kidnappings, imprisonment, and plundering of their estates, they will never be safe until the governor, attorney general, legislature, business and religious leaders, the legal fraternity and celebrities, who live in Connecticut with blinders on, end their slumber and demand iron clad reform.
Please don’t forget Kingsley Hubby and root for a change in Connecticut and at St. Joseph’s Hospital where hardness of heart has taken hold. And please help Marjorie Partch save her mother, locked in a Connecticut nursing home, by contacting Bring Dorothy Home on the Web or Facebook.
PS: I do have photographs that make the above story so much more enjoyable.
Ben Hubby MD
912 352 1088
I am investigating financial elder abuse for my father. He passed away in Clermont, FL, on Nov. 4, 2013. After his death, we learned that his caretaker stole thousands of dollars from his 2 checking accounts. She got survivorship on one of the checking accounts 6 weeks before he passed away even though he had his son as the power of attorney. With the second checking account, she forged checks. In addition, she used both of his credit cards to make unauthorized purchases on Facebook. Finally, she talked him into buying a new car and putting her name on the title. After reading the “Signs of Financial Elder Abuse” on this website, our family believes she committed 9 of the 15 signs. We would appreciate any advice you can give us.
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