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My brother financially exploited my 78 year old mother.

After Mom, who lives in FL, was involved in a car accident (hit by a drunk driver) I discovered a $9,000 balance on her Visa made to help pay for my oldest brother's step-daughters wedding, he lives in the same town as my Mom. I also discovered my sister-in-law had talked Mom into putting her as an authorized user on her Visa "So I can pick up pads and stuff for you". I also discovered a check Mom signed and my oldest brother made out to himself for $4,500. He has claimed he will repay these debts but made two Visa payments totaling $400 right after the accident and now won't talk to me. My other brother (who lives in Ohio) has tried talking to him and he always claims he's getting ready to pay it all off. All this time I've used her funds to make minimum payments and now I've had to move her back to the nursing home and since her only source of income was social security she is now on Medicaid. Visa began collection calls when I stopped paying and I explained the situation, talked to collections dept., fraud dept. (who said they couldn't do anything) and finally disputed the charges so I could get copies. I talked to the State Attorney and he said if I had copies of the signature receipts along with a complaint letter from Mom I could file charges. I hate to do this but my older brother won't discuss this with me, stopped seeing my Mom when all this was discovered, and will only text me occasionally to tell me to "back off the visa, I'm gonna pay it". I have tried to discuss finances with my Mom for the past 5 - 10 years and she would always tell me to mind my own business. Well now it is my business and I'm on Xanax because of the stress and anxiety this has all caused. I work full time and live 2 hours away in AL and have made 20 trips to FL in the past 8 months. There are many, many, many more drama's in this story but I've just spent the last four night preparing a Victim Impact Statement because the defendant has decided she is tired of dealing with this (poor thing!) and has filed a demand for a speedy trail, and have been dealing with the nursing home and Mom's plea's to take her home. This has been one drama after another!

 
 
  •  Comments 1 to 10 of 41 
 
 

Eddie

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Jan 25, 2010

Cl:

Was she of sound mind when she told you to mind your own business? If so, do that. I understand sometimes our elderly parents' business is our business, so if the Visa was unsecured credit she can file for bankruptcy and keep her assets. If it is secured credit, your sister-in-law, as co-signatory, can be held liable (e.g., her wages might be garnished). And since your brother had the audacity to charge the weddings on the card, let him help your mother file the bankruptcy papers.

One last thing: get off the Xanax. It's an opiate that only serves to mask the problem rather than help you solve it. Plus the use of benzodiazepines (and drugs in general), tends to escalate and you might graduate to more potent chemicals. I'm a substance abuse counselor, so I know what I'm talking about.

In a nutshell, let them deal with it. I know you love your mom to death, but sometimes you have to allow people to take responsibility for their own actions.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

-- ED

 
 

anonymous13319

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Jan 25, 2010

Your mother will always be in denial about your sibs. I had a similar situation. My sib. did the same thing with my mom...opened a credit card acct., took a cash withdrawal, made a few payments, then skipped out on the rest.
Fortunately, I finally convinced her that it was her livelyhood she was sending out the door. With her permission, I now have PoA and take care of finances for her. I collaborate with her on financial planning, bill paying, etc. because I want her to always know where her finances stand. But this still does not guarantee that she would not return to her old behaviors. It constantly astounds me that the people who help the most are the ones who are treated the worst by family.
If your mom is in deep denial about this and allows the scam to continue there is really nothing you can do about it until she becomes "enlightened."
Ed offered some very sound advice. Maybe backing off and getting your own life back on track may make your mother see that you will not always be there to bat "clean up." Give your mother your sibs telephone numbers and tell them all that you are on vacation...then really GO on vacation or at least stay at home and let the others deal with it. If you are turning to drugs to cope, then it is time for serious reflection and major changes.

Stay strong,
Lilli

 
 

pamela6148

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Jan 25, 2010

Fact of the matter is, and I don't mean to sound harsh but you really don't know how long your mom has been helping out your siblings. What our parents do with their money is their business, and they will be quick to tell you.

I found a check made out to my sister, after my mom got sick, and I asked her what it was for and she told me that she didn't have to tell me what she does with HER money. I have not asked her again.

Don't worry about it becuase it's too late now anyway. Let your siblings reap what they have sew'n. As long as you have all your ducks in order now, that's all that matters. And please don't fault your mom for that. A mom is always going to be a mom and really we wouldn't have it any other way.

Just keep on loving her.

 
 

nanlinjoe

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May 19, 2010

I have POA and my sibs really resent me. To be honest, I am the only one who has never asked mom for a cent. My brother has "borrowed" several thousands of dollars over the years and has never repaid the money. My sister used to take mom grocery shopping but would also use mom's money to buy HER own groceries!! Mom is now in assisted living and I watch her money very closely so that she can self-pay for as long as possible. mY sibs think I am controlling mom's moneu b/c I want it all for my self!! They are so wrong! I spend many hours a week attending to mom's needs and wants, including paying her bills, getting phone service set up in her new residence, meeting with her social worker, etc. I now need help emptying her house and prepping it for sale---a HUGE undertaking--and my sibs have said they won't help me since I have the POA.
They think I'm up to something bad. Yet, they are vultures and will have a fit if I sell or give-away something they want for themselves. My feeling is "too bad for them" if they can't be bothered to help me. There has also been a lot of vulture-like behavior about mom's will, especially her diamond jewelry. I agree that being a care-taker is a thankless job but I love mom and just want her to be happy and comfortable. I don't care if all od her money is spent and leaves no inheritance.

 
 

Heatherj43

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May 21, 2010

My niece started care taking both my parents and ended up stealing over $14,000 from them, Some of it was a line of credit she got in my dad's name.
My eldest sister, who took guardianship of my dad and is handling their funds now, decided not to prosecute and the bank is making her pay $400 a month back, no interest. When my dad dies, it will be considered paid off.
The money is being taken out of my dad's retirement funds. My niece walked away free and clear. I know I can prosecute, but I am unsure what good that will do at this point. It won't get the money back and she has 3 little sones.
I do know I never want to talk with her again. I adopted her when she was 13. Her mother, (one of my other sister's) was on drugs quite heavy. I had hoped I caught her in time to instill some morals and values. I guess not.

Its tough to just let it go, but I am. I know that their money is in safe hands now and could kick myself for trusting my niece to deal with it properly. In the early stages of my parents not being able to deal with their own funds, it was up to me to decide what to do. I allowed my niece to take care of things because she moved in with them and was taking care of them.
After her, we let her brother take over and he ended up being abusive to them, so now its just the one sister and myself who takes care of everything.
It gets to be too much all the time. I am seeking other resources at this time. I am shocked as to how little help there is is out there.

 
 

anasazi

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Jul 5, 2010

We have a terrible situation in which our sib tricked our mom into signing a durable POA, making him the agent. He abused it terribly (criminally). Within a few years her entire savings was gone. Over 1/2 million dollars. We will be pushing for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law and will be getting a permanent restraining order. He left her with negative bank balances, wrecked credit, debts, a tax bill (because he emptied her retirement accounts and didn't pay any taxes for her) and lapsed long term care, life and medicare part B insurance policies. We hope he languishes in prison for what he's done.

Heatherj43, you should seek a permanent restraining order so your niece cannot be in contact with your parents again. If she comes around, she could be arrested and thrown in jail.

We all need to push our states to really tighten up on POA and laws pertaining to financial abuse of an elder. Anyone who takes advantage of their elders is lowlife scum and should be held fully accountable for it.

 
 

niteorchid3

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Jul 19, 2010

VERY LONG STORY:

I was taking care of my mother for the first two years after my father passed away, that started three years ago. When I got there mom and I decided it would be easier to put my retirement income into her account and pay our bills together (her idea), she also made me an authorized user on her credit cards so that I could buy dog food and pay the vet with no questions asked (my idea). We did our Christmas shopping together online because like mother I am also disabled which is the reason that out of five kids I was the one who went there and took care of her when she wasn't able to take care of herself, and my one of my older sisters who was there for about six months decided she couldn't stay any longer (she couldn't stand being with mother any longer then that).

I got there in August or September 2007, after having spinal fusion in June 2007, I was on very strong medications like Percocet, Fentenol and Soma. Honestly I don't know what was really going on most of the time I was there. I know I passed out at least once after mixing up my bedtime medications with my morning medications. Fortunately my daughter was there at the time, but who knows how many other times it happened when she wasn't.

Anyway, we did our gift shopping on line and used PayPal to process the payments. Somehow someone hacked the PayPal account and charged something like 15K to my mom's credit cards. When we found out I got them to drop over half of these charges as fraudulent, the rest I couldn't get them to budge on, and so we had to pay those. At the time my mother went over the charges with me and explained what had happened to my siblings, they started blaming me right off and she told them that we had already figured it out and that I was not at fault.

Then one day my daughter and son in law asked me if I wanted to go with them to visit my great Aunt who lived about 40 miles away from my mom, I asked her if she wanted to come, but she said no cause she didn't feel good, I told her I would stay home with her but she said no she wanted me to go see her aunt, I told her we would be gone for about 8 hours or so considering who we were going to see, I asked her if she was sure she didn't need me to stay there with her, she told me know that she was perfectly able to take care of herself for a day, so I went with them. When I tried calling mom after a couple of hours there was no answer so after a few more unanswered calls I told them we needed to go home, we got back to mom's about 5-6 hours later we walked into an empty house, there was no note. I called my sister's cell phone several times and finally around 9 pm she called to let me know she was at my sister's house because we had abandoned her when she was sick.

She stayed at my sister’s house for a week, leaving me to take care of the house and the dogs. I tried talking to her about it when she got home but every time I said anything my sister would jump in and say I was wrong. This same sister also told my daughter and her husband that they needed to start paying half the bills, even though the agreement my mother had made with them was that they could stay there without paying rent until they were back on their feet. I know this sounds odd but it is just the way my mother is, and she has done the same thing with all of her kids and grandkids when they needed her to. Anyway, They moved there from TX and he had been delayed in started his new job until only about two weeks before this took place. So they started looking for a place of their own, they got there in February and moved into their own place in April. I told my mother I would pay her back all the extra money it had cost us while they were there, as well as any money I had borrowed from her, with or without her consent during the time I was living there. My sister's each called her and borrowed between 5 and 7K each during this time.

After a year and a half, the strain of her care and dealing on a daily basis with my sister and my niece who moved there during that time, taking care of my nieces 12 year old son who was comming over to be watched before and after school and all day during the summer, and watching my 4 year old twin grandchildren began to take it’s toll on me and I started to have even more severe medical problems, I told mother that I was going to go back to TX for what at that time was suppose to be a few months. However, after being home for the first month or so my doctor told me it would be better if I found someone else to take care of my mother and I stayed home and took care of myself. So I called my mother and told her what the doctor had said and she told me it was fine she didn't need a babysitter, which considering the fact that she was blind was completely untrue. However, she had my sister there and her Aunt both of them about the same distance away; she also had my Daughter and my Niece within walking distance, who could get there quickly if she needed something right away. Then I found out my Niece whom I had worked very hard to find a place for had moved into my Mother’s house, had disconnected her computer so she could hook up her own, and was allowing my mother to do the dishes and the laundry and babysitting her son. So since my sister in Colorado was of no use, I called my other sister who was in another state to see if she could find out what was going on, since all I got was the run around when I had called. So she called them and then called me back and told me to stop trying to start a fight eveything was fine. Anyway, I had already made arrangements with one of my other Niece's who had wanted to move back to Colorado for a while, to go and stay with my Mother and take care of her, then I was told that I was being selfish, and that I blindsided everyone and forced someone else to take my place.

Now my sister's, my Nieces, and my brother are telling me how I stole money from my mother, ran up her credit cards, and then jumped ship and "Slinked" back to TX, shirking what was "MY RESPONSIBILITY" to take care of our Mother, while trying to force my sister, the one I had called for help, to quit her job and move there sooner then she had planned, because I was a thoughtless user. Did I mention I was there for a year and a half? Oh yeah and I am the youngest of the five kids in the family, and the only one who was dealing with any health problems.

Needless to say I don't speak to any of them anymore. The thing that has bothered me the most in all of this is that my mother acts like I didn't pick up and move there when she needed me. Like when something happened I didn't do my level best to take care of it with no help from my siblings, and yet I am being accused of stealing from her, even though she kept saying to me that she wanted to pay me to take care of her, and I kept telling her no.

I have started an account in mine and my mother’s names to save up money to repay the loan she made to me while I was there, and even though I am on a very small fixed income I put what I can into it every month. I am now trying to find a PT job to add to the money in that account because I want to get it all played back in the next year. I look forward to being able to have a lawyer send papers to her showing the account, and making sure that my siblings cannot touch it even after her eventual death. I want to make sure that only the amount I borrowed is made available to them not the entire amount in the account. And I want to make sure that if they can't provide proof that they have made payment to her for the amounts of their loans, that they get that much less of the amount of her estate. Unless she has changed her will and I am sure they will have made sure she does I am still the executor. And if they got her to change it I will make sure they have to hire a lawyer to probate the will. I was very naive to think that they wouldn't do what they have done, and they would have to be even more so to think that I learned my lesson.

 
 

niteorchid3

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Jul 19, 2010

Sorry; I meant to say they would have to be very naive to think that I hadn't learned mine.

 
 

Heatherj43

Give a Hug

Jul 21, 2010

My sis and I have decided not to have my niece arrested, nor put in a restraining order, as it is my parents granddaughter however, both parents now have guardians and all monies cannot be gotten by anybody.
I cannot believe how many of the grandkids have gotten stuff from them. My own daughter took my mom's car. My nephew spent a lot of their money and then the niece thing...$14,000, and my sis says its really more than that.
H*ll, my exhusband even got an old printing press from my dad's basement and scrapped it for $6,000 without any of us knowing. He says everyone knew, when I ask just who, he says my mom amd dad...duh...asshole...and my neice and nephew, who also stole from them, so none of us knew. He acted all indignant and said, "are you accusing me of stealing from them" and I said "yes"! He has been good to my parents thru the years, they are neighbors, but that is stealing! Is he going to put up the bucks to bury them???No he isn't!!
They all piss me off. Now my sis and I are scrimping to save burial money.

 
 

palmtrees1

Give a Hug

Jul 22, 2010

I am sorry for this situation, however, she refused to include you in her finances and this is her problem to solve. It is your brother's problem, walk away. I know that is hard but sometimes we have to save ourselves.

 
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