Elder Financial Abuse Defined
California Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610.30
Under California law,
(a) “Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1575 of the Civil Code.
(b) A person or entity shall be deemed to have taken, secreted, appropriated, obtained, or retained property for a wrongful use if, among other things, the person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the property and the person or entity knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder or dependent adult.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property when an elder or dependent adult is deprived of any property right, including by means of an agreement, donative transfer, or testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder or dependent adult.
(d) For purposes of this section, “representative” means a person or entity that is either of the following:
- A conservator, trustee, or other representative of the estate of an elder or dependent adult.
- An attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of the power of attorney.
Elder financial abuse is the act of stealing or embezzling money or any other property that belongs to an elder.
Any form of this abuse is devastating since it may take away from an elder’s life savings, leaving him/her financially destroyed. Financial elder abuse is commonly in the form of telemarketing fraud, identity theft, home improvement, estate planning, investment, mail notifications, fraudulent lottery winnings notification and similar scams.
Elder financial abuse may vary from stealing money from the personal possession of an elder, including coercing and/or emotionally or physically abusing an elder to turn over property.
Consequences of Elder Financial Abuse:
The elderly should be careful to choose trustworthy people to be their agents or trustees. Most often, conservators, caregivers, representative payees, financial planners, family members and friends commit elder financial abuse. Victims of elder financial abuse are usually elders who are isolated, lonely, have suffered recent losses, suffer physical or mental disabilities, or have no knowledge of their funds.
Investigation performed by an experienced licensed Private Investigator may help reveal the elements of the crime and prepare the District Attorney and others for litigation and or criminal court. Frequently, investigation will reveal sources, identify suspects, witnesses, bank accounts, converted assets, real estate transactions, missing funds, including diverted social security checks and other property.
A variety of techniques are employed in order to determine the best action. Contact us for a free consultation.