Elder abuse can be physical, sexual, or financial as well as emotional. When financial elder abuse is involved, it is typically by a caregiver or caregiving organization. They are using their patient’s financial resources in an illegal or improper manner. Vulnerable seniors who are victims of financial elder abuse can be left devastated. Both financially and emotionally. So it’s really important for loved ones to keep a lookout for signs of elder financial abuse.
Bellingham caregiver charged with unprofessional conduct after suspected financial elder abuse
As reported by kgmi.com, a worker at the Spring Creek Retirement Community in Bellingham has been charged with unprofessional conduct. This is after making purchases on a resident’s bank account. The Home Care Aide Program alleges that Mervyn Fortune made about $6,000 in charges. This was while the resident was under his care in August 2022. Including car washes, fast food, movie tickets, and a car repair.
A healthcare investigator sent a letter to Fortune asking for an explanation but received no response. According to the Washington State Department of Health, Fortune will be subject to discipline and sanctions. Only if he continues to ignore the charges.
Signs of financial elder abuse
Family members should be aware of the signs that can point to elder financial abuse. Including but not limited to a sudden, unexplained drop in their loved one’s bank balance. Also a new will or other legal document that makes a caregiver the “power of attorney”. This gives them the right to spend the senior’s money. Other illegal changes can be adding their name to one or more bank accounts, or makes them the sole beneficiary of an account. Other signs can be a loved one suddenly becoming fearful or depressed. Making a lot of big financial decisions all at once, such as selling off property.
Is elder abuse a crime in Washington State?
Yes, elder financial abuse is a serious crime in Washington State. If an individual or organization is convicted of elder abuse, including financial exploitation, neglect, or abandonment, they may be barred from caring or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults for the rest of their life. In addition, a civil suit may be brought against the individual or organization that seeks to recover damages for the plaintiff.
What to do if you suspect financial elder abuse?
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of financial abuse, the first thing you should do is report the abuse. For victims in Washington State, contact the Washington State Department of Health and Human Services at 1-877-734-6277. To report elder fraud to the FBI, call 1-800-CALL FBI (225-5324), or file a complaint online at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Next, speak to an elder abuse lawyer who can help you investigate the abuse. A lawyer can assess your concerns and let you know if your loved one is the victim of a crime and what legal remedies are available. If the financial abuse is being committed by a healthcare professional, such as a home caregiver or a nurse at a nursing home, a personal injury attorney may file a personal injury suit to recover damages from the individual or organization.
Seek the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer
If your loved one has been injured as a result of abuse or neglect, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how to help them. Let an experienced nursing home abuse attorney help you fight for justice. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement that is five to ten times larger with the help of a good lawyer. Call the caring elder abuse attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!