Most of the rules regarding financial elder abuse are found in CA Welfare and Institutions Code. The basic rule is:
Financial elder abuse exists when a trustee or attorney in fact, takes, appropriates, secretes, or retains another person’s property who is over the age of 65, by fraud or undue influence. (Welfare and Institutions Code sections 15610.43, 15610.53, 15610.57, 15610.63.)
It is estimated that 2 million financial elder abuse cases occur every year and of those, only 20% are reported to the authorities. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has cited financial elder abuse as “an epidemic with society-wide repercussions.”
Common scams include:
- Charitable Donation Requests.
- Credit Card Insurance and Credit Repair Scams.
- Door-to-door, or in-person solicitation.
- Financial Advisor or Investment Scams.
- Funeral or Cemetery Fraud.
- Home Repairs.
- Medicare Fraud.
- Living or Revocable Trust Mills.
- Telemarketing/mail/internet fraud.
- Real Estate Predatory Lending Scams.
Examples of financial elder abuse?
- Your caregiver or a “new friend” persuades you to sign a power of attorney so she can handle your affairs for you—only to sell your home and steal the cash.
- Neglected and hungry, you lie stranded in your bedroom while your adult son empties your bank accounts.
- A home repairman persuades you to pay cash on the spot for a “great” home improvement deal—then never does any work.
- You forget to take your medication and a nursing home staff member slaps you in the face.
- You pay “fees” to claim a “free vacation” or winnings from an international lottery—only to deplete your savings and get nothing in return.
The court takes these offenses very serious, and can award treble damages (3x) against the wrongdoer.
Additional Resources on Elder Abuse
The following websites offer additional information for those who suspect elder abuse may be occurring with a loved one.
- National Center on Elder Abuse (ncea.acl.gov),
- National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (preventelderabuse.org)
- California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (canhr.org).
Additionally, there are may other types of relationships that involve abuse; we are committed to stopping all forms of misconduct and helping our clients obtain justice. If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse, call our office today in confidence or complete the contact form on our website.