What are my legal rights here?

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It is late here and I really need to get this off my chest and to get some advice.

My mom has been living with my Aunt for the past 18 months while I was living out of the country. Well now that I am back, I have begun to monitor things more closely and have discovered that my aunt has been going on huge shopping sprees at Wal-Mart on my mom's checking account.

I am working with the Wal-Mart to get copies of the receipts and was told that since it was electronic checking, my mom didn't even have to be there or sign the check and my aunt could buy whatever she wanted.

My aunts claims that they switch off every other time buying groceries, but if that were true, 3 elderly people would be eating over 1,000 a month in groceries.

I am getting copies of the receipts tomorrow, but the list is stagering. They show multiples of so many things and some of the things are the most expensive things out there. MAC razors at $25, Zyrtec at $26, $18 face creams, bags of candy at $7 each, enough junk food to choke a horse bags and bags of dog and cat food. And the kicker is that there is bird and ferret food on there and they don't have these!

They buy about 4 hair dye kits per month and they buy bath towels every time. And on once receipt there was three bath mats and they only have one bathroom!

My aunt and I had a disagreement and she exploded on me and told me to come get my mom and now that I made arrangements to do so, she is now telling me that I can't force my mom to go anywhere and that she has called an attorney. She also has called all of my siblings and told them that I am stealing mom's money.

I told her to do what she needed to do, and keep mom, but the money was gone. I opened a Guardian account linked to her checking and can transfer the money out before they spend it and they can't touch it.

Now I get a sweet call from her this morning at 6:30 am telling me that she "managed" to talk my mom into coming with me.

She is so transparent. I called the police department and they have refered me to the district attorney's office. I just hope this is considered criminal.

Sorry this is so long. I am so drained right now that I am numb. I can never stay awake past 9:30, but I am so wired by all this it is almost 11 pm.

I just can't believe that my aunt has done this to her own sister and what she has tried to convince my family that I am doing.

Where is the justice?

-Metina

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
Metina, I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. I am dealing with something similar and ready to pull my hair out. I have just begun to consider an attorney, but really don't know where to start. My father suffered a stroke 2 years ago. He and his wife (not my mother) moved far away. This year he was hospitalized for 7 months. During that time, she has been going through his social security like it was water. He gave us financial power of attorney and we found the most terrible things: she has not been paying the medical bills, taxes, and put all the debt in my fathers name. She spends over $1100 a month at WALMART. What could she possibly buy! The account stays in arrears and the bank somehow gives them a $500 grace. She knows this and uses it to her advantage. And that's not the half of it! She either convinced him or forged his name on her son's school loan which is now in default. My Dad has no ability to fight back. He is blind, completely bed-ridden and has a myriad of health problems. She has threatened to withhold care unless he revoked the power of attorney (because of all the things we found.) She's disconnected the phone so now I have no way to talk to him to know if he is okay.

Hopefully, someone on this sight can help get us started on what to do. I feel so absolutely helpless.
Dear Deibertt,

If you have financial POA and he can't function then it is your legal right to pull in her spending, What she is doing is stealing. You should get an attorney
and let him know what she is doing. Then put her on a fixed buget. She may have to pay back the money she has spent.

Barb
I am sorry to hear both of you are dealing with this. Finanacial elder abuse is a crime - it is not a civil matter. Call your local area council on aging to get a referral and information. Word of warning - it is heart-rending when it is a family member victimizing another family member. Especially if the behavior is crazy spending. Worse yet when the consequences spill over it will destroy your family as you know it.

I've been there & can tell you the most important thing is to take care of your parent first, they are the most important. Most likely, if the money is gone, you will not get 1/100th back if anything - regardless of a restitution order. Remember you care first, second & third about your parent....money can go, but you must keep them safe.
Thank you so much for your responses.

All I care about is my Dad's health. I probably wouldn't mind the spending if I thought she was taking care of him properly. (other than the fact that I think it is some kind of fraud to spend money you don't have) We've engaged eldercare services in the city where they live and shared our concerns. She just had an attorney send us a letter this week that our POA has been revoked. Her timing was perfect....she shut the phone off just in time so we can't even talk to our father about what his wishes are
I also forgot to ask. How do you go about finding an attorney that specializes in elder care issues like this?

And for Metina, I can certainly feel your pain. I am lucky in that my siblings all see the same thing I do. Do you have POA? Is that how you got a guardian account and were able to get the receipts from Walmart? My biggest struggle is that the person abusing my father is his WIFE. And I have no idea whether the laws favor the spouse or the children in this type of thing.

I hope you are able to talk to your siblings. Do you think showing them what you have found would make a difference? I know my siblings were not quite sure that my Dad's wife could possibly be this evil, but now they see it.

It's terrible that you are dealing with this. It's been a month since your post. Have things improved for you?
Deibertt,

If it is abuse you contact Adult Protective Services & file a police report for your fathers sake. This is not a civil matter - based on his physical condition and her actions you must take steps to have this taken seriously. Sorry to say it, but it is the only way unless you drive there and see him for yourself.

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