My story is about a prominent issue now shown on tv and still has not prompted any help. My Parents have suffered abuse for years at the hands of the Scientology cult. My brother and his adult daughter are both members of Scientology and have disconnected my Parents from society, including myself and their friends. The phone was cut off over two years ago and no one is allowed into the home to check on my Parent's status. I do not even know if they are alive or not. In the meantime my Parent's pensions have been stolen and used for drugs/alcohol by my brother and his daughter. I have identified social isolation, lack of communication, no medical care and at the least severe verbal abuse. They have been exposed to HIV, non-disclosed for years, by my brother and his daughter, without being tested and/or treated. The more important issue is that the State of Nevada Aging Services closed my elder abuse cases,(3), deliberately without interviewing eyewitnesses to abuse. They did not investigate at all. The local law enforcement agencies will not do an elderly welfare check for my Parent's safety, even though they have no phone service. This vicious behavior is paid for by Sea.Org, which is the financial part of Scientology. The abuse is Human Rights violations to my Parents because denial of HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment, and other needed medical care is a guaranteed right in our country. So is freedom to come and go as they please and to not be forced to practice a religion,(cult) belief system against their own normal beliefs. I have written to Senator Dean Heller for assistance and still nothing has been done to arrest my brother, his daughter and other Scientology cult members responsible for this horrendous abuse in our own country. Help!
We moved our parents to assisted living in April 2014. My mom had severe Dementia and dad had mild Dementia, Parkinson's and Prostate Cancer. In June one of my brothers got POA and my other brother was secondary. There are 4 of us kids. I trusted my brothers 100%.
My mom passed away March 30th 2015. In July 2015 my dad started going downhill fast. Hospice started with dad on July 28th 2015. I had never looked at any of dad's mail, but in October 2015 when I was with him and his bank statement came, a little voice told me to open it. I was shocked. $50,000 was transferred out of his account on August 17th! After that, I looked at all of his mail.
I am happy to say dad got better and Hospice stopped caring for him in January 2016 and he is still with us!
I found out my brothers have taken over half of what mom and dad had. They have taken approximately $600,000! I confronted them on March 1st 2016 via email and neither of them replied. So, I contacted DHS and they contacted the SCPD. A detective was assigned my case. In March 2016, he told me there definitely will be charges. In April 2016 he told me this is criminal. Then on July 29th 2016 he called me and told me the county attorney said this was not a criminal case. He said, "The POA paperwork is so general that the POA's can do whatever they want with your parents money." So, I had to hire an attorney. We have had 4 dates for conservatorship hearings so far. The first one was August 10th 2016. They keep getting rescheduled. Our latest is March 8th 2018. We had a trial date for September 20th 2017 and that got rescheduled for February 16th 2018.
My brother wrote checks to himself, paid his own bills, wrote a check to my other brother for $40,000 and transferred $25,000 to our other brothers girlfriend out of our parents account. They say dad approved of both of them investing $225,000 each. But yet they haven't shown any proof of these investments. This happened between August 2014 and January 2016. Dad turned 90 in September 2014 and he had Dementia. I will remind you hospice started with dad on July 28th 2015. On August 3rd 2015, $30,000 was transferred out of his account. Then on August 17th 2015, $50,000 was transferred out of his account. Dad was in no shape to approve of anything. We thought dad was dying. The detective knew all of this.
My attorney put in for a subpoena for the evidence that the detective turned in. In all of the video taped interviews, he said ALL information will be turned in to the county attorneys office. But then in his written report he says he gave the POA papers to the county attorney for review. He doesn't say he gave all the information to the county attorney. Why wouldn't he give all the information to the county attorneys office? He had my parents bank statements and copies of the checks that my brother wrote, and he didn't turn it in to the county attorney. HOW IS NONE OF THIS CRIMINAL?
I am a psychotherapist here in Northern California. I am a mother of two sets of identical twins.
My father had been living independently in Fresno, California. Around 2007 my eldest brother whom suffers from mental illness and is obsessed with money came up with a plan to show my father was incompetent and then take over and have access to all his money. When this came to light my mother, (who is divorced from my father, but was close to him) my sister and I realized for his safely from my brother, literally packed a few bags and got on a plane and went to the Seattle Washington area. It was felt my being 3 hours away was too close for my brother having access to my father. To make a long story short, in 2009 my father was living in independent living when he had a fall and broke his ribs. This put him in rehab. There were some circumstances, many of which were caused by my sisters negligence dad was put in a residential home run by a girl in her 20's. While in rehab dad and I had discussed dad coming back to California to be with me. I was the one he was closest to. Within a few days of dad being in the home my sister found this out. She immediately talked dads doctor into giving her drugs and he was drugged up and held against his will.
I was to find out my sister had drawn up a power of attorney which dad never read and was only told to him by my sister and the attorney which gave her immediate and full access to dads wealth without having to run anything by him. She had been embezzling large amounts of money from him. She could not be found out so she did everything in her power from that point on to keep dad drugged up, and convinced everyone who saw him that he had serious dementia. She then set it up where I was never to talk to him again, nor was my mother. my mother then with my mothers pleading had monitored calls. To make a long story brief, I contacted all the elder abuse authorities but given dad was drugged up, she took his glasses, had him wheelchair bound and did everything in her power to have him debilitated and look that way to anyone who saw him. No agency believed me as she conned everyone and as a POA everyone bought her story of she was the wonderful daughter and I was the unstable one. I was able at one time to get to talk to dad as he was waiting for me to get him and bring him back to California. I told him XX was not allowing me to talk to him and as she had the POA I could not bring him back. Several weeks after that dad took matters into his own hands when the owners of the home were on vacation and a sub was there. Dad an very introverted and shy man staged a blow up where he was taken to the hospital. Once there dad whom I think has an aspect of Aspergers so his communication style is as such. Dad stated repeatedly wanting to be in calif, that he did not want my sister in charge. Dad was freeing himself. When I heard from mom that dad freed himself I contacted the hospital. They were on alert and contacted the social worker. I let them know once XX gets there she will shut him up and convince everyone that it is dads dementia. And that happened. XX had dad put in a locked psych ward and on a anti psychotic medication. Dad did not want to go back to the home and with dads Asperger personality, dad does not explain things in a regular linear way he just gets to the point. During that stay I was able to talk to dad and I can not tell you the pain of dad telling me that what was happening to him was worse than any human should ever have to endure. Dad would not talk to anyone but me as XX always gave strict instructions for anyone to tell her if he ever says anything and that with his dementia he had no credibility. So he was treated as someone who could not comprehend anything being by everyone. AFter he got out I was given a restraining order. There were pages and pages of fabricated false accusations. To get a restraining order the judge hears the case from my sister before there is even a date for me to come in. So before I set foot in the court room, I was viewed as guilty by the judge. I judge declares I should never have the right to see my father again. It takes about a year for the restraining order to be overturned at the Superior Court Level in Seattle, on the basis that my sister had no legal right as she is not an attorney to file this against me. I was able to see my father again. However the anxiety on my sister was huge. Dad was placed in a dementia unit. My sister had to began fabrications about me and I could not get out of the legal system. Interesting to note though with my bringing the situation to light at the dementia unit, as XX could not pull off the degree of drugging (dad was able to walk again with a walker from being wheelchair bound). There are many other things happening during this time as well as emotional and even physical abuse happening in the original residential home. My story was were the legal system failed my father. I know how someone can "legally" abuse their parent under authorities eyes and even get the cooperation of agencies and doctors in committing abuse. This is a summary, the details are much worse than there is room for here. I am writing a book on dads story of elder abuse and the system that failed him. I also want to educate to prevent this from happening to others. My father died alone in the hospital. The hospital told my sister he could be home and with hospice but my sister left him in the hospital to die. I had flown to see dad in the hospital. My sister had mentioned to him I was coming. Dad was by himself as I got there he took his last breath as I held his hand. I sobbed and told him how sorry I was that this happened to him and how I tried so so hard to try to help him. The issue of elder abuse in the hand of family members is an silent epidemic, where the senior dies and the story is not told. This is the time to tell their story.
My mother was placed at a Memory Care in Loveland, Colorado in November, 2015. Fifteen months later, she passed away after sustaining a severe head injury in December 2016. During her 15 months at this facility, my mother was assaulted by other residents at the facility, over-medicated (with Guardian approval), and was neglected by the facility to the point of being severely injured numerous times. Although family members pleaded for the legal Guardian, Care Plan Manager, the court, and Larimer County Ombudsman to protect my mother, they did not do so. Incidents of abuse and neglect include my mother being over-medicated with Seroquel (3 times per day), assaulted by other residents (thrown against a door, hit in the face, slapped, punched) neglected hygiene, personal belongings stolen or “misplaced” (Social Security card and driver’s license) and an inappropriate medication”taste test” was performed on her at the facility in April 2016. During the “taste test,” my mother was given several concoctions to drink in order for the Director to get her feedback on their taste, and whether they were “bitter” or not. After the “taste test,” the Director left the area, leaving her completely unattended and over-medicated. My mother fell and was unable to stand up so had to crawl on her hands and knees across the floor. This is just one of many incidents at this facility where my mother was mistreated, abused, or neglected. The incidents were reported to all parties (Guardian, Care Plan Manager, Ombudsman) but the abuse and neglect continued throughout the year. In December 2016, my mother fell again at this facility and sustained a severe head injury that ultimately took her life 60 days later. The legal Guardian nor the Care Plan Manager ever informed the family members of the accident, a medical doctor did not attend to my mother, she was not taken to a hospital for an x-ray or CT Scan, and according to the Care Plan Manager, “only needed Neosporin and bandaids.”
My First Experience with Elder Abuse 1999
Elder abuse was never in my vocabulary. As a child and young adult, all of my older relatives were treated with respect and dignity and usually lived with one of their adult children.
I got my first glimpses of elder abuse when my dad was moved to a nursing home. An attorney gave the advice to my mom to impoverish him so he could qualify for MediCal, thus leaving the assets to cover my mom's care later. I do not recommend or condone this practice of “intentionally impoverishing” an elder to qualify for MediCal/Medicaid.
The nursing home was awful. Staff neglected and ignored residents leaving them unkept and in pain. Communication was very difficult as most staff didn't speak English, they was unresponsive and uninvolved- no quality care. Dad was transferred to the hospital several times due to neglect and poor care. The nursing home staff also stole my dad’s wedding ring and other personal belongings.
At the time, my family and I lived a plane ride away, but visited every month for over a year. I didn't know I could report the neglect. Even if I had reported the abuse, I learned later during my 2nd experience with EA, that no one would have done anything to intervene.
How could my brilliant and kind Dad, a graduate of CalTech who worked with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and on the Manhattan Project, end up in a disgusting, poorly run nursing home? It was heartbreaking. Ten years later, I would learn more about the hidden crime of elder abuse and how apathetic law enforcement, financial institutions, elder law attorneys and reporting agencies are in America and worldwide.
I felt helpless. My only sibling (who would later exploit my mom) was always indifferent and of no support. Mom was having a hard time dealing with the situation. This experience enlightened me about ageism and the way we discard and ignore our elder population.
Watching my dad decline and eventually die, was devastating. Thankfully. I have my favorite memories: his excitement over becoming a GrandDad, watching him as a Tournament of Roses “white suiter”, teaching me to sail, and he always drove me to the vet when it was time to say good bye to my pets- even as an adult.
My Dad made significant contributions to our hometown, Pasadena, and later in the beginning of the tech industry boon in Silicon Valley and adored his family. Eighteen years have passed since he passed and I still hurt thinking about his last years. Elder abuse can happen to anyone, it doesn't discriminate.
Our elders deserve to age with dignity. And if they are abused or exploited, they deserve justice. If you suspect abuse, report it- and if you are ignored, contact the media, your elected officials and post your story here on Ageless Alliance’s “Share your Story” as well as other social media outlets.
Part 2 of my story will be about the exploitation and abuse of my Mom.
My 2nd Experience with Elder Abuse- Betrayal of Trust
After my Dad passed away, my mom updated her DPOA and Healthcare Directive. She asked me to come with her to go over the documents. During a private conversation with the attorney, my Mom appointed me as her DPOA and Trustee.
There was a discussion about who she wanted to be the second agent if I was unable to serve as her first agent. It was an important discussion because my older sibling had a decades long history of substance abuse, serial unemployment and a pattern of missing in action during family challenges- completely undependable. I was the responsible caregiver when my parents needed help with my husband as a solid participant.
Mom decided to appoint my sibling to avoid any upheaval even though the sibling lived 5000 miles away.
Fast forward to when my Mom’s doctor confirmed she needed to move to an assisted living facility as her dementia was getting worse. I contacted my sibling to help with her move and cleaning out her home. As customary, my sibling was intoxicated and unhappy about not being in control of my mom’s finances.
Behind the scenes, my sibling convinced an attorney to see him about changing my mom’s legal documents and flew across the country for the appointment, but couldn't help with the move. My mom was struggling with the dementia and was very confused about moving out of her home. My sibling used this confusion to take control of my Mom’s finances- what I now know is undue influence.
My husband and I knew my sibling would steal her money and we warned the new attorney with proof of our concerns. I called the attorney after I took my Mom to her bank to check on her account. Multiple checks for large sums of money had been written to my sibling and spouse.
I alerted the attorney in writing about the fraudulent checks and he failed to protect my mom. I reported to social workers and they did nothing. I was warned not to call APS because they would force guardianship over my Mom. No one cared about my mom’s welfare.
My sibling did drain my Mom's trust and used her personal information to reopen dormant credit cards after misappropriating all of her money. It was a credit card company who alerted APS and me, but it was too late.
The police were called as my mom wanted accountability and her money returned. The FBI was also called because her money crossed multiple state lines, but they declined the case due to lack of resources. APS and LTC OMNI were frankly, useless and incompetent.
The police issued a subpoena for the money trail and we received 500 pages of that trail- it was very disturbing to see the selfish and cold betrayal by my sibling. Her funds were used for luxury trips, designer clothes, home improvements, a luxury SUV, fishing gear, paying off perpetrators credit card bills in the thousands, even their pets were cared for above my mom’s needs.
The consequences to my Mom:
Forced eviction from her facility after living there for 5 years
Only a SS benefit for living expenses and care
Moving to a sub standard board and care
Multiple hospital visits
Board and care staff purposefully dehydrated and over medicated her resulting in me calling 911 and long rehab stay
Being moved to another B & C where the caregivers left her unattended & she fell breaking a hip
My mom suffered so much due to the theft of her money. Imagine being in your 90's with dementia and left destitute. If the attorney, bank and social workers had done their jobs, one half of my mom’s money would have been left for her care.
Wake up America, elder abuse is rampant and life threatening. The only way to stop elder abuse is to hold perpetrators accountable.
San Diego DA Paul Greenwood said: “After prosecuting such crimes for 21 years I am convinced that tough sentences for violating an elder abuse statute is the best deterrent.” I AGREE.
Elder Abuse is a very serious crime- speak out, report it, call your elected officials demanding action.
My sister had been divorced for 17 years when she married her second husband. She had no children of her own, while he had three adult children by his prior marriage. My sister was a well-educated, highly respected professional social worker with a wide circle of friends and professional associates. She was my older and only sibling and we maintained a close relationship throughout our adult lives. I escorted her down the aisle at her first marriage because our father had passed away a year earlier and also did so at her second marriage. Even though we lived in different states and many miles apart during most of our adult years, we visited each other at least yearly and phoned each other regularly. We were together at many family gatherings, including the weddings of my three children, her nephews and niece. During the years she was single, she joined me, my wife, and children every Christmas. She became very close to my family and shared a special bond with her niece in their affection for animals.
Before she met her second husband, my sister had not expected to remarry and, so, saved and invested with a view to maintaining her financial independence. She married her second husband in 1995 when both were 53. On several occasions prior to and after their marriage, she and her husband stated that they intended to maintain the assets each brought into their marriage as sole and separate. These intentions were confirmed by estate planning documents executed by the couple in the early years of their marriage and later obtained by subpoena. Each had brought significant assets to the marriage and my sister’s separate Living Trust document, executed in 2002, clearly indicated that I was to be 100% beneficiary of her Living Trust while her husband’s separate trust listed his children as his beneficiaries. I was also named sole beneficiary of her IRA. In 2005, my sister had in excess of $800,000 in four accounts, which included two Living Trust Accounts and an IRA account.
It was in early 2005, at the age of sixty-three, that my sister began to exhibit signs of memory loss and confusion. She no longer initiated telephone calls to me and could no longer complete simple tasks that she had done repeatedly over preceding years. In our conversations, she voiced increasing frustration in paying the bills. A year later, in 2006, she could not read and comprehend a reservation form and tell me of travel plans for herself and her husband.
In 2007, a noted neuropsychologist found my sister to be significantly cognitively impaired, exhibiting “a markedly abnormal neuropsychological profile.” In June, 2008, a PET metabolic evaluation noted “metabolic activity consistent with an Alzheimer’s Disease pattern-moderate to severe.” Between 2007 and 2010, numerous reports from my sister’s physicians (Family Physician, Neurologist, E.R. Physician, and Cardiologist) document her severely impaired mental functioning.
Until 2005, my sister had managed the monthly finances and bill paying for the couple. I have learned through subpoenaed documents that her adult stepdaughter, who had a degree in accounting, began to ‘help’ with these tasks, beginning in February of that year, when my sister’s accounts began to be depleted at the rate of $10,000 or so per month.
In 2009 and in 2010, my sister’s Living Trust and DPOA documents were completely revised, virtually eliminating me as a beneficiary of her Living Trust and substituting the stepdaughter in my place as Successor Trustee and as Durable Power of Attorney. This was years beyond the point where my sister had the capacity to understand the significance of these actions. It is also to be noted that the stepdaughter’s name does not appear on any of my sister’s legal documents prior to the onset of the latter’s memory loss and confusion.
I first became aware of the abuse in December of 2015, two months after my sister’s death, after receiving only evasive answers from the stepdaughter regarding my sister’s affairs. In January of 2016, after contacting a lawyer, the stepdaughter provided an accounting in the form of a simple statement that the balance in my sister’s only remaining account, which was a Living Trust account, was $4,000. Between 2005 and her death in October of 2015, my sister’s four investment accounts were exhausted of essentially all of their funds, that is, more than $800,000.
It is only because my sister had provided me with a 14-page document in 2002 and again in 2004 (prior to overseas travels as well as the onset of her cognitive decline) with, among other things, a summary of her accounts and possessions for which I was to be beneficiary, that I had any basis to question the stepdaughter’s account.
In August of 2016, as a result of my civil lawsuit (see below), the stepdaughter finally provided a very incomplete accounting of expenses. This accounting amounted to a selective list of checks exceeding $1,000.00 and the electronic equivalent of a jumbled pile of bank and brokerage statements (thousands of pages). She failed to account for many thousands of dollars in checks she wrote to herself and deposited into her own account, numerous credit card charges, numerous electronic withdrawals for cash made from the couple’s checking account, and a number of charges, obviously her own expenses, paid using the couple’s debit card. Her accounting ignored completely the line of credit loan taken out in September of 2011 on a luxury home that was my brother-in-law’s sole and separate property. There is no evidence that this money was ever used to pay living expenses for my sister and her husband. Yet, between 2011 and 2015, more than $50,000 of my sister’s money was used to make monthly payments on this loan line of credit. I received only a partial accounting of the proceeds from the sale of the couple’s primary home in Phoenix which the stepdaughter, acting as trustee for both my sister and her husband, sold in 2015 for $460,000. Some $100,000 is missing in the accounting of the sale of the home. In addition, between 2008 and 2015, more than $175,000 was improperly withdrawn from my sister’s IRA by her stepdaughter in order to maintain the sole and separate property of my sister’s husband, even though other financial resources were available, in an attempt to conserve assets destined for the stepdaughter and her siblings as beneficiaries of their father’s estate.
In summary, my sister’s stepdaughter fraudulently obtained and then abused her powers as Trustee and Durable Power of Attorney by misappropriating my sister’s funds for her own benefit, both directly in funds she took for herself (I believe that this was well in excess of $100,000) and indirectly, in conserving her father’s assets of which she, along with her two siblings, is a direct beneficiary. The foregoing allegations of my sister’s incapacity, vulnerability and fiduciary abuse are supported by medical records, monthly bank and brokerage statements and other documents obtained through independent investigation and by legal action in the form of a civil lawsuit. The stepdaughter’s conduct was egregious, calculated, sustained, and criminal.
I believed from the beginning that the abuse was a criminal in nature; however, multiple sources encouraged us to address our claims through the civil courts. I initiated civil action in February 2016. I reluctantly settled our civil lawsuit in April of this year (2017) for $13,000. My legal fees ran close to $40,000, paid from my retirement savings. I felt compelled to settle because I was facing rapidly escalating costs and not getting anywhere. My attorneys advised me that if I continued to trial it would cost us between $75,000-$100,000, or more. Then, if I did obtain a judgment against the stepdaughter, I would have the onerous task of collecting that money … involving more lawyers and more fees.
In July of 2016, I also filed a criminal complaint with both the Phoenix Police Department and the State Attorney General’s office. A month later I received a letter from the Attorney General’s Office, Special Investigations Section, stating that they had reviewed my complaint and would not be opening a criminal investigation at that time. Since that date, I have obtained and submitted a number of additional documents in support of our allegations. The Special Investigations Unit has declined to follow up on our assertions.
My sister was victimized three times over. She was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease, struggling with this disease for ten years. She was a victim of an unscrupulous stepdaughter, and she is a victim of a legal system which recognizes financial abuse of a vulnerable adult as a crime but does little to follow up on reported cases, particular when the abuser is a member of the family and the abused is deceased.
Arizona has laws on the books making fiduciary abuse of a vulnerable adult a crime. AZ STATUTE 13-1815 (Unlawful Use of Power of Attorney): “An agent who holds POA and who uses the principal’s assets or property with the intent to unlawfully deprive that person of the asset or property is guilty of theft. AZ STATUTE 13-1802: a person commits theft if, without lawful authority, the person knowingly takes control, title, use or management of a vulnerable adult's property while acting in a position of trust and confidence and with the intent to deprive the vulnerable adult of the property.” Furthermore, according to a Basic Estate Planning Document put out by the Maricopa County Bar Association, “a power of attorney executed by an incapacitated adult is invalid and, in a criminal proceeding, the agent has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the principal had the capacity to understand the nature and effect of executing and granting the Power of Attorney.”
On the website of the Arizona Attorney General, it is noted that most cases of elder abuse are not reported to authorities and that as few as one out of twenty-five cases of financial abuse are reported. It is also stated that adult children and other family members are often the abusers. Citizens are urged to report elder abuse and exploitation. This rhetoric rings hollow if the police investigators and prosecuting attorneys are not committed to following up on cases of financial abuse that are reported!
Examination of relevant State statutes indicated to us that the abuse was criminal in nature and extent. Nevertheless, many advised us to pursue civil action because the state and local police would view the matter as a family affair, no physical abuse had apparently occurred and, after all, the victim was deceased. In fact, the police focus appears to be mainly on scams and frauds perpetrated by individuals outside of the family. However, the total of sums involved in fiduciary abuse perpetrated by family members is believed much greater than that by those outside the family and is also thought to be under-reported. After filing the initial report with the Phoenix Police I followed up with detailed summaries and reports, including copies of bank statements, canceled checks and brokerage account statements that had been obtained in the civil action. The Phoenix police made only a preliminary contact with the stepdaughter and her attorney but, as of this writing, have proceeded no further with an investigation.
Our civil lawsuit proved equally unsatisfactory. It is frequently stated that some 85% of civil cases settle before going to trial. How many of those settlements are like ours: settling for a paltry sum to avoid incurring significant additional and onerous expenses? I have learned a dirty little secret. A defense attorney can mount a campaign of delays, objections, motions, unnecessary depositions, etc. intended to thwart the requirement to provide responses to requests for an accounting from the plaintiff. Intentionally or not, these actions generate substantial legal fees. It took us eight months and almost $20,000 before I was able to issue my first subpoenas for records necessary to substantiate our claims. Not many people have the financial resources to pursue a claim of fiduciary elder abuse through the civil courts. It becomes a question, not of obtaining a just resolution, but of who has the money to stay in the game the longest.
At no time in the process did the civil court attempt to bring the sides together in mediation. Indeed, it is clearly in the interests of the legal profession to prolong the process and thereby generate income. The Civil statutes call for an accounting by the trustee at the death of the trustor but a superficial summary was all that was provided and the court was apparently satisfied. This is a travesty. An individual becomes a Trustee and assumes a Durable Power of Attorney voluntarily and the Courts need to demand that such individuals meet the stated requirements in the statutes much more thoroughly than they currently do. This should also include verification that vulnerable adults have the capacity to understand trust documents and powers of attorney, and also include Court supervision of the process.
Finally, had my sister required notification of beneficiaries of any changes in her Living Trust in the Trust document as well as a yearly accounting from Successor Trustees, this might have prevented the abuse.
What action steps are you taking to address and prevent this issue from happening to others?
My wife and I have established contact with the Ageless Alliance and other organizations interested in this issue to call attention to the growing problem of fiduciary abuse of vulnerable adults by family members. The ultimate goal would be two-fold: (1) have police and prosecuting attorneys treat this fiduciary abuse by a family member as a crime; (2) enact laws requiring DPOAs and Successor Trustees to provide beneficiaries with at least an annual report that includes an accounting of income and expenditures on behalf of the trustor or estate and a mechanism whereby this report may be obtained without having to go to the expense of filing a civil lawsuit.
My mom resided in an assisted living facility in San Diego for several years after my dad passed away. One day she noticed her heirloom silver and some jewelry had been stolen from a closet shelf. I had warned her not to keep valuables there, but she came from the a different era where people trusted others.
The theft was reported to the Director, but she didn't call the police to make a report. I assume the staff didn't want to have the police there upsetting other residents. My mom thought a new staff member stole her things while cleaning her room.
My mother in law was exploited and my wife wanted me to call the police because she feels this crime usually goes unreported.
My mom was very upset that her things had been stolen. I wish it had been reported, but other family didn't want to make that call.
My mother always balanced her checkbook but when we came to visit one time she told us she was confused as the totals always were off. I noticed that there was a deduction taken out electronically.We contacted her bank and discovered that a company my mother had not heard of had taken money out of her account. They had somehow found out her routing number and account number. The bank told us this was a common problem with some clients having had their entire accounts emptied . We were advised to close the account and open a new account.
Shortly after we did so I noticed that the same things was happening again. My mother had cashed a small check that was sent to her. This allowed the scammers to find out her bank information and start draining her money out of her account. Her bank told us that unless they knew the amount of the withdrawal and when it would occur they couldn't stop it.
On top of this my mother was being constantly asked to give to specific charities. In a year's time she had given almost 4000 dollars in small checks. This time when we closed the account and opened a joint account I kept the checks and paid all the bills.
The nightmare was finally ended.
Tell us a little about yourself: I was a single father and raised my son from age 2 years old until he went off to college. I did advertising for start-up groups, and was an artist and a writer. I was a Middle school art teacher for 10 years. I also had a deli for a while in order for my son to have a safe place to work. After my son was in college, I went to seminary school and worked as a Chaplain as well as ran a counseling office. I’ve always had an adventurous spirit.
Share a favorite memory: When my son was 3 years old, we lived in a apartment that was newly renovated. Around Christmas time we did the whole santa thing and that night I put presents out. The next morning my son runs in and said, “dad, dad santa was here!” I guess my footprints had stayed in the carpet and he thought they were santa’s footprints.
Please share a summary about the abuse experienced: I moved into an assisted living. One of the male caregivers kept touching me and saying, “I can’t wait to give you a shower” and I kept pushing him away. One night, while I was sitting on my bed watching television, this caregiver came into my room, pushed me down on the bed and molested me. He also hit me where I had just had surgery so I was unable to fight back. My roommate saw everything. When I told the owner they first said I was a liar. After checking with my roommate, the owner, board member and caregiver all convinced me me not to report anything. A few months later the caregiver molested someone else and they fired him. I had only been there a few months and worried about losing housing, which is why I didn’t report to the police. I did report to LTC Ombudsmen and was encouraged to go with the owner’s requests.
What action steps are you taking to address and prevent this issue from happening to others? I’ve been an activist my whole life and have to do something. This just has to be addressed. Sharing my story any way I can to shed light on this!
My friend who is almost 70 years old and single allowed her son and girlfriend to move into her condo without paying rent. It's been years and while she works they don't pay for anything and drink a lot. She is threatened and bullied, but fears doing anything. She thinks her only option would be to sell the condo. This breaks my heart.
"I am 87 years old and I was not even a year old when I moved to Hawaii. I let my hair grow like the Hawaiians had theirs and went surfing out with the guys. Between the first year of junior year of college and second year, I volunteered for the army and I retired in 1987 as a full Colonel. I met my wife in Camp Bradbury; she was a secretary for the Red Cross. We were married for 50 years. She died in 2004. I do have incurable cancer and they are not giving me that much time but I figured well, if you tell me 4 months then I’ll try for 8 months so that’s where we are now."
"A fellow that was an attorney that did my will made the head of the board and care agency that I had judiciary. Right off the bat the head of the board and care agency started telling me what I could do and parties I could have – that’s illegal; you are not supposed to be able to do that". Dr. Burnight shares that this head of the board and care “encouraged him to spend all the money he needed for his care.” Burnight explains, “When people are isolated, a lot of times we see that they are unduly influenced by people who would take advantage. It is an opportunity for folks to come in with ulterior motives; motives of greed and of control.”
Dana Butler-Moberg, Executive Director of the Shea Center, knew Harry off and on for 9 years as a volunteer at the Center and first discovered the financial loss. Contacting Dr. Burnight, a team was formed to support Harry though locating appropriate housing and care, as well as connecting him with meaningful activities and friendships. He continued to serve as an advocate with Ageless Alliance through sharing his experience of elder abuse and speaking with elementary school students about his life journey. Harry passed away in March 2016.
My identical twin brother was neglected, abused and killed by poor nursing home care. He was a wonderful caring person and had many close friends all over the world. The nursing home let a bed sore fester and eventually it became so large it created many medical problems throughout his body and he died in my arms on May 21, 2012. I am dedicating the rest of my life to hopefully prevent this from happening to anyone else. Please get involved!
Recent News & Events
The University of Wyoming is looking for family-member volunteers to participate in a confidential survey and follow-up interview to identify risk and protective factors within families that could Increase or decrease the likelihood of family elder financial exploitation. For more...
During the holiday season, family gatherings are more commonplace and yet older adults can experience more acute social isolation. Isolation is both a risk factor and a consequence of elder abuse. Older adults who are isolated are......