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What Legal Measures Can Sacramento Families Take Against Suspected Financial Elder Abuse?

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What Defines Elder Financial Abuse in California?

California has more residents over 65 than any other state in the U.S., and this population grows yearly. Therefore, financial elder abusers believe they have a vast target market to defraud and take advantage of.

Thankfully, California also has severe penalties and numerous laws that protect this vulnerable part of its population from these despicable crimes.

In California, financial elder abuse is defined as the theft or embezzlement of money or other property or assets from an aged citizen.  California Penal Code sections 368(d) and 368(e) cover this type of senior fraud and impose severe penalties.

Suppose a family member, friend, company, etc., is guilty of mismanaging funds, property, or other assets that are the property of an older adult. In that case, California prosecutors could, and usually will, charge them with this crime.  

Almost every day, cases of financial crimes against the elderly are reported, and this type of crime is on the increase.

Some common examples of senior financial crimes or fraud include;

  • If you are responsible for paying an elder’s bills but don’t do so.
  • Not purchasing necessary daily items for an elder for whom you are responsible; such as food, clothing, medications, and more.
  • You are making fraudulent or unauthorized withdrawals or purchases by using your elder’s ATM or credit card, checking account, etc.
  • You are making fraudulent or unauthorized modifications to your elders’ Will, Power of Attorney, Titles to Vehicles, and more.

There are myriad ways elders can be victimized by senior fraud and financial exploitation. This is done by phone and friends, but sadly, the Los Angeles branch of Adult Protective Services states that almost 90% of elder financial abuse cases are committed by a family member.

Although California harshly prosecutes these financial crimes, they can be legally complex and highly stressful. Therefore, a Sacramento elder financial abuse lawyer’s skilled, experienced, and empathetic guidance is mandatory.

How Can My Lawyer Help to Prove an Elder Financial Abuse Case?

Commonly, physical abuse of older people, as horrible as that is, can be identified much more quickly than financial abuse. Elder financial abuse is much more “hidden” (usually by the perpetrator) and doesn’t leave obvious physical signs that family or friends of the victim would notice more easily and quickly.

However, some signs may become evident, and you should look for things such as;

  • Checks are made to “cash” and consistent withdrawals using your loved ones’ debit cards.
  • Signatures on documents that don’t match.
  • Any type of unusual financial activity would generally be abnormal for your aged relative.
  • Questionable types of investments, such as timeshares, recreational vehicles, etc.

If your lawyer analyzes your case and determines there is questionable financial activity, they can move forward to legally intervene and stop the situation from causing any more harm.

However, once the perpetrator is charged, your lawyer must prove the following;

  • A financial crime was committed using theft, fraud, forgery, or embezzlement.
  • That the assets or property belonged to your elder, and the person who committed these acts was the caregiver.
  • The caregiver that your loved one was an elder (and took advantage of that fact).

The above are just a few of the more common signs of possibly elder financial abuse, but if you even suspect that this crime may be occurring, obtain the counsel and advice of an experienced, knowledgeable elder abuse lawyer. Their resources will assist them in evaluating the situation and, if financial abuse exists, stopping it from proceeding and harming your elder loved one further.

What Consequences May the Caregiver, Etc. Face if Convicted of Financial Elder Abuse?

California financial elder abuse can usually issue the same type of penalties on the perpetrator as California theft crimes. This legally translates that the penalty depends on the value of the money, assets, property, or services stolen from the elder relative or friend.

The caregiver could be found guilty of a misdemeanor or Felony financial senior fraud, and the penalties can be significant.

For example, if convicted of misdemeanor financial elder abuse under California law, the caregiver (etc.) could face;

  • Informal probation (otherwise known as “summary” probation).
  • A year or more in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

However, if Felony financial elder abuse is proven, they could face;

If convicted of felony senior fraud, you face the following penalties:

  • Formal probation that’s much more restrictive.
  • Two to four (or more) years in California State Prison.
  • A $10,000 fine or more.

Taking financial advantage of older people is treated very harshly in California. If your loved one is a victim of this horrific crime, you must enlist a professional elder abuse lawyer to ensure your loved one’s rights are protected to the full extent of the law.

In California, is Failing to Report Elder Financial Abuse a Crime?

Failure to report elder abuse (of any kind), including financial, can be considered a crime in California. This is especially true if your elder loved one is in a long-term health care facility or assisted living.

Many older adults reside in these facilities, and all the staff must be trained in recognizing and reporting elder crimes of any type.

Under California law, every long-term health care facility, community care facility, or residential care facility must provide training and continuing education for all staff members. They mandate that recognizing and reporting elderly abuse is their legal duty.

This in-depth training curriculum was instigated and developed by the Department of Justice in cooperation with the California Department of Health Care and Social Services.

So, if the financial (or other abuse) was committed in a facility, then you must inform your knowledgeable elder abuse law team so they may not only hold the perpetrator but possibly the facility legally accountable.

I Believe That My Elder Loved One Is the Victim of Elder Financial Abuse; What Should I Do?

Any type of elderly abuse, including financial abuse, is a crime in the state of California and must be taken extremely seriously. Financially based crime against the elderly can seriously impact their lives in dire and substantial ways.

Suppose you even suspect your loved one or friend is being financially victimized. In that case, the elder financial abuse lawyers at the Yonano Law Offices, P.C. stand ready to fight aggressively for you and your loved ones’ rights.

Call them today at (916) 894-8790, and they will analyze your case and tirelessly fight to protect your elderly loved one and their rights.

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