Protecting Irma

My mother was the best person I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She was the epitome of love, what she suffered during her life was not deserved. I think about her every day. I miss her terribly and wish that I could have done more for her.

She was love and kindness and pure, she loved unconditionally and when someone hurt her she was wounded deeply. I loved my mother so much and it hurts to know that her own flesh and blood hurt her for their own selfish needs. I will never forgive or forget what my brother Sam did to her.

I am not perfect and have my flaws but in a million years I would never had done to her what Sam did to her. My true brother Miguel thinks that at some point I should forgive him but after all of these years I cannot see that happening.

I wish she was still here and part of the reason she is not is attributed to my brother Sam, at the end of this you will see why and not question this statement.

During the visit (where Sam had tried to withdraw money from the Free ATM) not only had we initiated the Power of Attorney we also wanted to have my mother assessed again for dementia. I met with her doctor at Kaiser right before her appointment to talk to him regarding her mental status. I asked if he would re-assess her as we had growing concerns regarding her memory.

In our first visit the doctor told us that she was just suffering from age related memory loss but the memory loss was really starting to concern us. It seemed to be getting worse and we felt that the doctor had not done a proper assessment. The doctor was perturbed that we were asking him to do the assessment, the doctor did a more complete assessment and decided to refer her to a neurologist.

Miguel and I continued to look for her original will and trust as well as trying to find where all the money went. We were waiting on the documents from her bank to start forensically searching to find out what had happened.

My mothers finances started to normalize since we had taken over paying her bills for her and managing her bank accounts. Without the financial abuse by my brother Sam she actually had money in her account and continued to build a buffer as her expenses where a lot less than what she got from Social Security and her pension.

We were trying to get my mother to start using some of the services offered to the elderly such as ride sharing services that only cost $5 as we did not want her driving and other services that would do well visits to her. She was a very independent woman and did not want to use some of the services offered. It is tough to get someone at the age of 85 to start doing something different from what was normal to them previously.

The doctors visit to the neurologist was scheduled and we were trying to get her to use the ride service but she did not want to do that and somehow Christina (for once) volunteered to take her. We were not comfortable with her taking her but pretty much had no say in the matter. The day of the appointment I spoke with the doctor and asked that she see Irma alone without Christina and informed her of the financial abuse that had taken place. The doctor agreed and after the appointment she called me to say that Irma was in the beginning stages of dementia and was shocked that she was still driving.

Unfortunately this confirmed our fears and now it became imperative that we get a conservatorship in place.

Protect the Elderly from Financial Exploitation

https://www.aba.com/advocacy/community-programs/consumer-resources/protect-your-money/elderly-financial-abuse

The Surprise

A1 US

I want to make something perfectly clear, the whole reason for this blog (that we plan to turn into a book) is to bring to light the all too common occurrence of Elderly Financial Abuse.  If we can help one person avoid being abused or help someone identify the signs of abuse and stop it, then it is worth it.

We had decided that we would go to San Diego at the end of August unannounced as we wanted to fly under the radar and plan bank and doctor visits while we were there. We had already initiated a Medical Power of Attorney and on this trip, we would initiate a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) as a stop gap until we could have the Conservatorship put in place.

I flew in on August 31st and my mother was ecstatic to see me when I showed up at her door.  I took her to lunch and I discussed with her in detail the Power of Attorney, what it was, why we were doing it and the benefits of it.  From this, we could help manage her bills, manage her bank accounts and help her find money that we thought she still had.

We had the POA signed and notarized and then went to her bank and gave them a copy of it and requested all of her bank statements going back to the year 2000. We had requested this so that we could forensically see where all her money went. We had already done this with all of her Citibank Credit Cards. I then took her to pick up some prescriptions and ran a few errands with her.

Prior to going out to San Diego my sister-in-law jokingly commented that since we were going out at the end of the month maybe we would run into Sam attempting to make a withdrawal from his free ATM.

After spending a wonderful afternoon with my mother we headed back to her apartment and as we pulled in we saw my brother Sam sitting on his very expensive motorcycle (Hog) in the apartment parking lot. We pulled up to him and the look of “What the F*%#!” on his face was priceless. He wouldn’t even look at me or acknowledge me and he proceeded to tell my mother that he was there to take her to the bank (sic) and to help her get her prescriptions. I told him that we had already done all that and he continued to ignore me for which my mother was very upset. You see, my brother Sam would continually cry to my mother that his brothers didn’t reach out to him or talk to him. I was very nice and cordial to him when I saw him and he was the one not acknowledging me. He got on his hog and rode away as my mother was asking him to stay and spend time with us. He did not want to have anything to do with that and this greatly upset my mother.

She did not understand why he was being like this and his behavior deeply affected my frail mother. I told her that maybe it was shame for what he was doing (to be honest he has no shame as if he did he would not be stealing from his mother). This incident also proved to my mother that what he was saying about Miguel and I was not true.

The truth was that we had thwarted his attempt to take money out of the free ATM and he was not happy about it.ATM

On my way to my hotel I got a phone call from Sam’s wife Christina saying that my brother told her that he saw me and she was surprised that we had not told them I was coming into town. She proceeded to chastise me for not communicating with them and that as family we should communicate and then asked why I was in town. I told her I was there to take care of things that my mother needed and to take her to her doctor appointments. She proceeded to tell me that they always take her to her appointments, I stated that this was not true as I had to fly in all the way from Dallas to help her out. I told her that I was there to protect her from any more financial abuse from them. She then stated that she never took money from my mom and that it was all Sam. I then made the point that the Germans in WWII knew the Jews were being slaughtered and sat idly by and did nothing and if that was her excuse then she was as bad as them. Sam was listening in on the conversation as I could tell he was on another line hearing what was being said. I finally hung up on her as she did not like what I was saying and became unhinged.

That night I got an automated text from my mothers Citibank credit card (one we had changed the passwords on) that it had been used to pay the DMV in California. It was not my mother who initiated the transaction. It seems that Sam had physical possession of a card and used it. Nothing like a little credit card fraud among family.

Again, we were astonished that this was still going on even after Adult Protective Services had submitted a police report on Samuel.

Financial Crimes Against the Elderly Legislation

Protecting the Elderly from Financial Abuse

A Complete Guide to Elder Financial Abuse