Year The Abuse Occurred/Began2005
Type of Abusefinancial, neglect
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.