The capability to make decisions regarding one’s financial assets is one of the first abilities to decline as cognitive impairment encroaches, according to a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute. This decline of skills – often referred to as diminished capacity – can occur well before a diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. Given that diminished capacity greatly impairs one’s ability to make financial decisions, its detection is critical to protecting the elder from financial harm.
We had made an appointment with my mother’s doctor to address her weight and her memory. When we visited the doctor and brought up our concern that she weighed 80 pounds he assured us this was normal for her. He then showed us that her weight fluctuated between 75 to 85 pounds and this was normal. We later found out that a few years earlier this same doctor had diagnosed her as being malnourished. He did a brief memory test on her and decided that she only suffered from age appropriate memory loss. This was a bit of relief but it still concerned us that it seemed worse than that. He then scheduled a bone density test and a CT scan of her brain.
Miguel and I continued to go through our mothers files looking for any other accounts that she may have had. We then found out the depth of the financial abuse perpetrated by Samuel Hornedo. She did not know where all her money had gone. She did not remember the $150,000 life insurance payout that she had gotten when her ex-husband died. She did not remember how my younger brother had gotten and used her credit cards. On her Citibank Credit card we found the following:
|7/26/2015||PAYPAL *CANDYGIRL7U 4029357733 CA||$149.21|
|7/27/2015||STATE OF CALIF DMV INT 800-7770133 CA||$193.00|
|7/27/2015||STATE OF CALIF DMV INT 800-7770133 CA||$217.00|
|8/11/2015||PAYPAL *BANDINDUSTR 4029357733 CA||$99.00|
|8/12/2015||STATE OF CALIF DMV INT 800-7770133 CA||$14.00|
|11/11/2015||CHRISTIAN MOTORCYCLIST 8703896196 AR||$15.75|
|11/20/2015||ATT*BILL PAYMENT 800-288-2020 TX||$1,102.79|
|1/20/2016||CHECK N GO COLLECTIONS 513-2296745 OH||$63.00|
|2/20/2016||CHECK N GO COLLECTIONS 513-2296745 OH||$252.00|
The State of California DMV payments were for the registration of the 3 cars Sam and Christina Hornedo own. My mother was not a Christian Motorcyclist and was not in a band. The AT&T bill payment was not for my mothers account and The Check N Go Collections were all Sam. Finally, there were more PayPal Payments to CANDYGIRL7U totaling over $600. CANDYGIRL7U was a woman named Lourdes who my brother Sam was sending money to with my mothers credit card through PayPal. We at this point contacted Citibank Visa and reported the Credit Card Fraud/Identity Theft and with my mothers consent got access to manage her accounts. They say Truth is Stranger than Fiction and this became painfully true. In all of my life Miguel and I had never seen anything like this…we were beyond astonished! We found more financial abuse and fraud the more we dug into the documentation we had. More to come in part 3. Please repost and Re-Tweet this blog to help bring awareness to Financial Elder Abuse.