As people grow older, they become vulnerable in many ways. Even if they show no obvious, outward signs of illness or serious decline, they may be suffering from physical and mental decline. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who seek to take advantage of such vulnerable adults, and their misdeeds may go undiscovered until after the elder person has passed away.
One such case of alleged financial elder abuse came to light recently when it was reported that two California women were arrested in connection with the financial exploitation of an elderly woman. According to the California Department of Insurance, the two women began a fraud scheme against an 89-year-old woman in 2005, in which they sold her more than 23 annuities, collecting more than $1 million in commissions. Meanwhile, one of the women collected another $400,000 in fees for acting as the woman's trustee.
The charges against the two women include conspiracy, theft from an elder adult and insurance fraud. The elderly woman died in 2018.
Sadly, cases such as this one are not rare. Officials say they are growing more common all the time.
When Californians suspect that an older person is being financially exploited, they should report their concerts to the state's Adult Protective Services office in their county. Sadly, however, many people do not discover the financial abuse until after the elder has died, when the financial misdeeds are uncovered during the estate administration and probate process.
It is important for people facing this problem to speak to an attorney with experience in financial elder abuse and probate. An experienced lawyer can advise them on their options, including litigation.