Not Your Typical Elder Law Firm

Caretaker’s arrest highlights risks faced by older adults

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2024 | Financial Abuse |

Older adults may rely on caretakers to help them manage their households and perform daily tasks. Some people move to a facility where they have around-the-clock support from caregivers. Others allow professionals into their homes. A caretaker can help someone follow a medical regimen, maintain a clean home and fulfill basic tasks like grocery shopping. Caretakers have access to people when they are vulnerable and can potentially abuse their positions or the people in their care.

Financial abuse is one of the more serious issues for those reliant on professional caregivers later in life. A recent criminal case involving a professional caregiver using someone else’s credit cards is an example of the financial abuse that can sometimes affect older adults. It also illustrates the importance of loved ones keeping an eye on vulnerable older adults.

A caregiver made fraudulent credit card purposes

According to arrest records, a professional who has worked as a caregiver conducted thousands of dollars in transactions using the personal financial information of a vulnerable older adult. The caregiver faces allegations of identity theft involving at least three people.

Some of the parties affected were residents in a care facility where she worked. The investigation started with someone acting as a representative for a resident in their 80s. They noticed online transactions worth $15,000 about which they had no knowledge. Police efforts found another $4,000 in fraudulent charges using other people’s accounts.

Investigators were eventually able to identify a suspect based on the delivery information for the products purchased online and items found during searches. Ideally, carefully vetting the facilities where people live or the professionals who support them when they are vulnerable can reduce the risk of financial abuse.

However, older adults are still vulnerable even when they or their family members are fastidious about reviewing the background of those providing them care. In some cases, it may be necessary to take legal action in response to financial abuse. The right to take legal action persists even after the state successfully prosecutes someone for financial fraud.

Responding appropriately to the financial abuse of a vulnerable adult may help reduce the impact that misconduct has on victims while generating consequences for a perpetrator. Those who notice questionable purchases or missing resources may need to start looking into the possibility that an aging loved one may be a victim of financial abuse.

FindLaw Network