Grandfather in Danger of Signing His POA to Scam Artist

Started by

My grandfather has been a feared patriarch in my family for ever since I can remember. He is 93 stubborn, paranoid and in way too much control of his and my grandmother's lives. He still lives in his own home with my grandmother who is bed ridden and has a 24/7 caregiver.

He has complete control over his assets, and goes about living as if he was 40 years old. You might think this is great but it isn't, he has dementia, is throwing his money away and causes my father and uncle an extraordinary amount of distress.

To top it all off he has loaned this random guy 100K on a hand shake for some crazy project. I spoke to my dad last night and now it seems like this guy is trying to get control of my grandfathers assets via a POA. The caregiver found a contract in his house and notified my father.

My grandfather is throwing his money away. I'd like to know what I can do to help my father and uncle gain control of my grandfather's assets. He will not do it willingly as he is paranoid. He is not thinking logically. I'd like to do 2 things:

1. Figure out how to legally get control of is assets.

2. Figure out how to stop this scam artist from taking advantage of my grandfather and to see if I can get some legal docs set up for these previous loan transactions.

10 Comments

the first thing you need to do is damage control - find what documentation you can, get all family to see a lawyer asap. Take the contract with you. Follow the lawyers advice. Start documenting everything and keep your fingers crossed.

As far as the scammer goes - what do you know about the guy. Problem is as long as your grandfather is considered competant it is impossible to do much if he wants to do it. Sounds as if your caregiver is pretty good. The problem with people who prey on elderly and those who are 'losing it' is that they come off as being helpful and on their side, while family are daemonized somewhat - - - you know the drill.

Sorry that this is happening, but there are many predators out there...if not this guy then it would be someone else. Stay strong and know that you will have a battle ahead of you. Remember that the key is to make certain that your grandfather and grandmother are safe and not in jeopardy regardless. You can look up financial elder abuse on the internet - it is a sad growing trend. you are in good company.
After you see the attorney, go directly to the district attorney in the county where your grand father lives. Explain the situation and see if others have complained. There are things you can do, restraining orders, civil charges but you must weigh the cost to you in $$, emotions and lost relationships. Think about protecting your grandmother, grandpa is not the man you knew years ago, you must ensure he's not a danger to grandma, himself or others.

Someone should probably be named as a legal personal representative for him and grand ma. At least for grandma if she's unable to fend off his strong personality. You can always get a restraining order against the scammer grand pa might not realize what that's all about, but the $100K is probably gone for good.
Good luck
I have a bit of experience with this issue. Your grandparents are better off if you circle the wagons and protect what he has - this means until the time that your grandfather recognizes the scam, or it is determined that he is incompetant, you cannot compel him to do anything. Because of this you are walking a very fine line, especially if your grandfather is the decision maker for your grandmother.

Use diplomacy, stay in contact with him and try to work together to keep your grandfather connected and communicating. People who prey on seniors are very good at driving a wedge between them and their family. If your grandfather is used to being the "boss" he can be manipulated by this person. If he is evaluated and is not competant, be advised that civil suits are costly, and there is no guarantee that you will prevail. Working with Adult Protective Services and the local PD - DA that handles financial elder abuse will likely cause the scammer to seek greener pastures.

Good luck
Thanks for all the comments. Unfortunately my grandfather never was a reasonable man. No one in my family can reason with him and his dementia has just compounded the issue. I called an attorney yesterday and he said I could report this scammer to the local authorities and that would help that situation get sorted.

As for my grandfather's competenacy with his money, only option would be a legal decision giving my dad and my uncle conservatory control. Sounds like that would cost around 5K to do, which in my opinion isn't that bad.

The lawyer said that I could also get my grandfather off the road by simply making and anonymous DMV call. That way he'd have to take a driver's exam.

I've told my dad about all of this but it's not likely that he'll act on it. All he will do is sit on the information and watch the problems compound and internalize the frustration and pain.

As for my grandmother she has no idea what is going on, so she is 100% out of the picture when it comes to any decision making.

It's frustrating, I am across the country, hate hearing that it causes my parent distress. It's a huge issue between my parents as my mom thinks my dad should just forget about them and try to move on while he still can. She despises my grandparents and how much damage they have done to my father. My dad realizes all the issues but can't remove himself from the situation. He just sits back watches what happens and let's it eat away at him. It's probably the worst thing he could be doing for himself.

I'd like to take action but I really can't without my uncle and dad permitting it. This is one big mess.
I am sorry that it is a complicated family situation. It seems that you understand your family all too well, but have the good sense to see how things could spiral out of control. There are some actions that you can take in order to get the ball rolling - you don't need to tell your father & uncle you are doing it. You can call Adult Protective Services and file a complaint. You can explain the family dynamic and what the problem is and your believe that your grandfather's dementia is leaving him vulnerable to exploitation. Let them initiate an investigation, determine if your grandfather's behaviour is detrimental to the welfare of your grandmother and himself. At that point, if your father and uncle want to become involved, they can - or they have the option of remaining hands off & letting the state's probate office appoint a professional conservator, and allow them to live in the least restrictive setting with some protections.

I am only suggesting this because problems have a way of escalating if not dealt with - regardless of how family feel about each other, it is important to ensure that your grandparents are safe and not placed in financial jeopardy.

You take care & no matter what you decide, you obviously care enough about the situation to ask. I hope that this answer helped a bit. I've been there myself & can tell you that the longer you wait, there is potential for things to get worse rapidly.
I am sorry too but you are not alone. My own brother is the one defrauding my parents constantly and they are eighty. My two other siblings and I don't know what to do.. He has defrauded many elderly people in Florida but he does it in a nice, sneaky, fake, way. My mother is the boss and has always been in denial where my brother is concerned. Sometimes as hard as it is we have to walk away to keep our own health and sanity. Who knows they might try to come after us next. It is a scary thing.
We are on the final phase of what you are going through. My two siblings are POA for my dad. His dementia/alzheimers is to the point that he has no reason to do any business/investing. My two siblings have successfully sold a business (to the sheister for $1 (sp) that was taking advantage of him for years...this was a huge relief...and a long story) They have stopped alot of investers from coming around. In all, it took them a lot of time and energy but was well worth it. If someone wanted to become wealthy and have a legitimate business they could start up some type of service helping the aged from becoming ripped off. Even the banks make it difficult and dont seem to have anything in place to help you out. GRRRR!
Being POA for my mother-in-law has kept her from being taken advantage of by people wanting money. Every so often she will get a phone call from someone wanting money, and she just tells them that her daughter-in-law handles all her money matters, and to call me. They hang up real quick, once they know the old person isn't in control of their money anymore.
My grandson has recently lost POA of his grandfather who has dementia to his live in male caretaker. The aid has succeeded in turning all family members against each other and finally turning his grandfather against our grandson and accused him of using his grandfather's money. Our grandson was responsible for getting his grandfather out of a nursing home his daughter put him in after she got him to do a reverse mortgage for a large sum of money. His grandfather was devasted and by our own accounts saw they had him heavily medicated and this was totally unacceptable for our grandson. The care taker who previously stayed with him and helped our grandson get POA and other legal issues handled because he seemed to know the system
reinstated to care for him 24/7. Our grandson is a professional bull rider and travels constantly .but sees to it that the aid is paid weekly and groceries are in the house . Our grandson has cleaned and gotten property back in a neat condition and bought furniture and necessities that had been taken from the home, all his grandfather's tools and equipment have been depleted by the daughter or occupants who were allowed to live there while he was in the nursing home. Our grandson is hurt and concerned rumors will tarnish his good name. He is one of the most giving and loyal young men and very responsible with his money and that of the separate account he kept for his grandfather. the aid was paid what was agreed upon with free lodging and he started to complain and challenge our grandson. Last week the aid convinced the grandfather that his money was being mishandled and took him to an atty to get POA. My husband & I feel that family has been scammed and the home will be reversed mortaged and aid will stay til all money is gone. Thank you for letting me express my frustrations as I am the grandparent on the other side if the family. Actually the stress for caring for his grandfather's financial needs and dealing with a controlling care taker was very hard but for the love of his grandfather he was true to his responsibilities. I might add our grandsons dad was killed in an accident when he was 18 mo old so both of his grandfathers have had a leading role in loving and instructing him as a son and is very loyal to them both. He was listed as an heir to his grandfather's estate in lieu of his father. So far POA was given to the grandfathers sister, his daughter, our grandson and now the care giver who I fill has been orchestrating the disturbance from the beginning. Thanksgiving I cooked the thanksgiving meal at the grandfathers house because our grandson did not want to leave him. The care giver was present and tried to discredit my grandson to me. I just listened and felt he was trying to build a case with my side of our grandson's family. He is a very cunning and convincing person putting the spin on reports to his advantage. I never new our grandson was having to deal with this until I witnessed it for myself. Just hope if he is a scammer he will be found out to protect other deserving families of their inheritance and peace in their loved one's golden years.
Bazalea, I can't follow the entire course of events, but here are some suggestions, based on what I can figure out:

1. If the aide is behaving in the way you described, DOCUMENT, then go to the local court house and try to get a restraining order keeping him away from your family, not just your GF.

Make sure to request that any signatory authority is denied so the aide can't sign for anything.

Contact the attorney who prepared the new POA and advise him of the situation. Fraudulent representations may have been used by the aide to get the proxy authority.

2. This is not a criticism, but a caution and advice: focus on documentable facts, not yours or other family's confidence and belief in the grandson. Court officials need hard, documented facts, as do police.

3. FIRE the aide. Who hired him? Is he paying himself? If not, who's legally a signer on the bank accounts and why was payment continued to him?

This should have been done before this reached such a potentially volatile level, but the family should individually and/or collectively step in now to address the situation.

4. I assume the aid has been hired independently rather than as an employee. Who did background checks, if any were done? If he is with an agency, contact them right now, explain the situation, and get him out of the picture.

5. Go to the local PD, explain the situation, and ask if they can at least do an investigation to determine if this particular aide has a background in scamming elders. This kind of behavior doesn't develop overnight.

6. If anyone interviewed or vetted the aide, review the data gathered, especially to determine who he's worked for before, who his reference were, and if he worked out of state or in various different towns. A pattern of hopping around could mean that he's worked for other elders and may have a pattern of scamming, then moving on.

7. I'm confused about the reverse mortgage. You state that your grandson's daughter convinced GF to get a reverse mortgage. You'll need to address how to keep her out of the picture if your grandson does regain his authority.

You also state that "I feel that family has been scammed and the home will be reversed mortaged ..." It's ALREADY subject to a reverse mortgage, by your own statement that your grandson's daughter was responsible for this. RMs aren't that easy to discharge and replace b/c all the accumulated interest, which amortizes negatively (in reverse) will be added. It would cost more to discharge it now and replace it, so I'm not sure where the concern would lie on this issue.

You'd be better off addressing the issue of your grandson's daughter's influence to get the RM discharged.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support