Elder Financial Abuse in Colorado Nursing Homes

Financial exploitation is among the most common types of nursing home abuse, yet it’s often unreported. This results in many abusers getting away with stealing thousands of dollars worth of financial assets from residents. You can recover what you lost with an elder financial abuse attorney.

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Nursing Home Justice Helps You Recover from Financial Abuse

Cases of financial exploitation vary. The methods used to steal assets and other factors could make it harder or easier to find who’s at fault. Nursing Home Justice has helped victims of all types of abuse recover the compensation they need to move on.

Our founding attorney Mac Hester has 35+ years of legal experience and is determined to gain respect for your family. We’ll treat you or your loved one with dignity, listen to your story, and blaze the trail for your recovery.

Contact attorney Mac Hester with Nursing Home Justice Today – (303) 775-8128

What is Elder Financial Abuse?

Elder financial abuse involves the misuse of a nursing home resident’s assets. Financial abuse is also referred to as exploitation, which C.R.S. 26-3.1-101(4) defines as “an act or omission committed by a person that uses deception, harassment, intimidation, or undue influence to permanently or temporarily deprive an at-risk adult of the use, benefit, or possession of anything of value.”

Colorado defines an at-risk adult as someone 18 and older and unable to provide services necessary to their health and welfare. Most financial abuse happens under the victim’s nose, and you have a right to recover your stolen property through a civil claim.

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How Can Elder Financial Abuse Occur?

Elder financial abuse comes in many forms and is most often carried out by the victim’s most trusted relatives.

The methods used for financial abuse include but are not limited to the following:

  • A Power of Attorney Agent might put their name in the Will or otherwise not act in the resident’s best interest
  • Caregivers or strangers might steal cash and credit/debit cards to make transactions for their own benefits
  • Abusers might access and clean out a resident’s retirement or social security benefits
  • Nursing homes could overcharge residents or bill them twice for the same service
  • Someone you trusted to pay your bills while you recover might fail to do so

Can Nursing Homes Take Your Savings Account?

Code of Colorado Regulations states that residents could elect to have the nursing home facility handle their finances. However, the facility must act in the best interest of the resident. To do this, the resident must sign a personal needs trust agreement that allows the nursing home to handle the resident’s money.

This gives them access to your savings account and other financial assets. So, if your nursing home isn’t acting in your best interest, your savings account could be at risk of being cleaned out.

Who’s at Risk for Financial Exploitation?

All residents are at risk for financial abuse; however, some are more vulnerable than others.

Cognitively Impaired Residents

Residents with cognitive disorders are at a disadvantage for several reasons. Staff members could easily trick Alzheimer’s or dementia patients into signing a personal needs trust agreement since they might soon forget to do so.

Relatives could manipulate cognitively impaired residents to assign them as their Power of Attorney agent, allowing them to make financial decisions on the resident’s behalf. Furthermore, residents with cognitive impairments might mistake a “friendly” person for a manipulative one whose goal is only to clean out the resident’s financial accounts.

Lonely Residents with No Close Family

Residents with no close family members have a higher chance of experiencing financial abuse. Since immediate family members keep a watchful eye on their loved ones in a nursing home, financial abuse hardly goes unnoticed. However, residents with no close family nearby might not realize stolen funds from their bank account.

Physically Impaired Residents

When someone is battling an illness or recovering from an injury, they likely aren’t keeping close tabs on their financial accounts. Staff members and other at-fault parties often take advantage of residents in their weakened state.

Who’s at Fault for Elder Financial Abuse?

An essential step in recovering financially is identifying who’s liable for your damages. The following parties might have wronged you:

  • Close Family – While close family could help identify abuse, they could also be the source
  • Nursing Home Staff – Staff members could manipulate your loved one, forge checks, or steal credit cards to commit financial abuse
  • Strangers – Scammers calling your loved one and other strangers could be responsible for your losses
  • Nursing Home Facilities – Facilities and their owners have been accused of many forms of financial abuse

A 2019 study found that financial institutions reported $1.7 billion in suspicious activities in 2017, which included attempts to steal elderly adults’ funds. The study also reported the average dollar amount each type of abuser stole. The results included the following:

  • Strangers – Average of $17,000
  • Family Members – Average of $50,200
  • Fiduciary – Average of $83,600
  • Non-family caregiver – Average of $57,800

How to Recover from Financial Exploitation

Every financial abuse situation is different; however, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has identified four steps in the recovery process:

  1. Identification
  2. Reporting
  3. Investigation
  4. Return of Funds

Your attorney will use a similar process. You must know the signs to identify when you or a loved one are being financially abused. Once you notice the red flags, you must report the incident to the appropriate institutions, such as the local ombudsman, law enforcement, and banking institutions. You should also contact an attorney immediately so they can get started on your case.

They’ll investigate the matter, use the information you provided in your report, and gather other evidence to prove financial abuse occurred. Once all the evidence is assembled, your attorney will present their case and negotiate a settlement or proceed to trial—the goal being to recover your stolen funds and any other damages you incurred.

Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

If you or a loved one are under the care of a nursing home, you must know the signs of financial abuse. If you experience one or more of the following signs, report it immediately:

  • Unusually large withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Unexplained charges to credit cards
  • Missing cash
  • New changes in the resident’s Will or Power of Attorney
  • Unpaid bills
  • Forged checks and other documents

Some forms of financial exploitation are easier to determine than others. For example, credit and debit card transactions are easy to catch by consumers and their banking institutions.

Today, some banks even send you a notification through text or email when a questionable transaction has occurred. On the other hand, small transactions might be harder to detect since they have less of an impact on your life.

How to Report Financial Exploitation

Despite the prevalence of financial exploitation, it doesn’t get reported. This makes it harder for financial institutions and other organizations to track fraud and ultimately put an end to the issue. Reporting your financial abuse is a necessary step in the recovery process.

Be sure to contact the following institutions to ensure your case is appropriately reported:

  • Adult Protective Services
  • Contact your local or state police department
  • Call the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
  • Reach out to your banking institution immediately to freeze your assets and bank accounts
  • Contact an Attorney to recover stolen funds from all liable parties

Here’s How We Obtain Justice for Victims

We don’t treat you like a case number; we treat our clients with the dignity and respect they deserve. Nursing Home Justice and lead attorney Mac Hester will help you recover in the following ways:

  • We’ll Meet & Listen to Your Story – At your free consultation, Attorney Mac Hester will personally meet with you to hear the details of your case and explain the next steps.
  • We’ll Investigate Your Case – We’ll gather compelling evidence to support your case, such as banking statements, videos and photos of theft, witness testimonies, and more.
  • We’ll Help Recover Compensation – We’ll assess the value of your stolen assets and work to recover what you lost.