Are my parents victims of elder abuse, financial exploitation?

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My brother passed away unexpectedly in January. He lived close to my 80 year old parents and was their primary caregiver; both suffering from memory loss and early stage dementia (I don't know the exact diagnosis). Following his death, his estranged wife (widow) returned home and immediately began to hit my parents up for money. I can verify she got $2000 in January, $7000 in February, and $6000 in March. I have no idea how much more she got that I cannot verify. She claims the money is for bills, but she used the February money to bail her boyfriend out of jail and he now lives with her. They've both been in jail for methamphetamine use and she has been to prison and is currently out on parole. From my research of Elder Abuse on the web, this fits the general profile of a person who usually perpetrates Financial Exploitation. My mother doesn't remember that she gave the money the previous month and she thinks it is the first time she is helping out her former daughter-in-law. My father remembers and is adamant that she stop, but my mom succumbs to the pressure from the ex daughter-in-law and continues to give her money. This is now causing heavy arguments between my parents. I got a call at 6:30 in the morning from my dad that they had a big argument about this and my mother left. I don't know what I can or even should do. Can I report her to APS? I've called an Elder Care attorney and am waiting for a call back for a consultation. Has anyone had to deal with Financial Exploitation? Thanks

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I will be attending my parents' Neuro visit Tue, then have an appt with an Elder Care attorney on Wed. I've made a list of questions to ask based on your input. Thanks.
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Reply to Shlomo
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Igloo - good thought. That's why I visit weekly to refill their pill containers. The original scripts and the weekly containers are kept in a lock box that only the caretaker and my mom know the combination for. (My dad is not allowed to have the combination because he would take more Vicodin and morphine than prescribed.) The caretaker opens the lockbox and delivers the pills to my parents at the assigned times and then locks them back up. Before this, my dad came up 15 Vicodens short one month and I had to stretch him out. That was painful for him. No issues since using the lockbox.
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Reply to Shlomo
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Yes, we've tried to relocate them closer to us, their granddaughter, and great grandchildren. They like that idea but refuse to leave their homestead, their area friends, and their beloved pets.

The reason I think the POA might not have been properly executed is that it consists of four pages, including a directive, and only the last page is executed and notarized. So there is nothing on the POA page itself to legitimize it. I'm still trying to get a consultation with an Elder Care attorney and will have him/her advise me.

The parole office seems to be dragging their feet about investigating our complaints about DiL. I see that she only has three weeks left on her community supervision. We're concerned that they want to bury it until she's off parole. My wife is calling them today.
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Reply to Shlomo
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This whole story sickens me. There is ALWAYS at least one vulture circling a sick, elderly person to exploit them. Infuriating!
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Reply to XenaJada
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Igloo, excellent suggestion. Shlomo, you can also check the ID marks on the prescription tablets, and photo them as Igloo suggests. The prescription label will indicate what the markings are, and you can compare them.

It might be a good idea to remove a pill, place it on paper and photo the markings.

Great insights, Igloo!
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Shlomo- when you trek over to the pharmacist, try to take a iPhone shot beforehand of all the pills your folks are taking. Get in tight so the #’s are somewhat readable.

I’d be concerned that the methhead duo would swap your dads opioids for some useless vitamins of similar shape. There’s a huge HUGE street market for opioids & they are in that culture so can sell immediately. Easy cash $$$.

You folks would never know it happened till their health got affected weeks later. And maybe not even then.
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Reply to igloo572
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igloo572 those are EXCELLENT suggestions!
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Reply to XenaJada
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Here is what I would do.
First, I'd contact APS and tell the story.
Then, as soon as I hung up the phone, I'd get to my parents' house.
I'd meet with my dad and take him with me to the bank and get on their checking account and also meet with a bank manager and explain the situation. Get online access to their accounts and set up bill paying, etc. Look at the account daily and monitor what is happening with it.

Also contact the police about what this meth head has done. Also get a restraining order so that the meth head cannot contact either of your parents with a sob story and requests for money.
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Reply to XenaJada
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I would definitely talk to the attorney about seeking guardianship. You will need statements from her doctor and neurologist as to her diagnosis and assessing her mental capacity. If she is found by the court to be incapacitated, I think you would have a good chance of being appointed, so long as you have nothing in your background check that would be concerning to a judge (violent offenses, crimes involving money, bankruptcies, etc).

I would definitely contact APS as well, and let the attorney know what is going on ASAP before they try to move in with your parents. In many cases, during a guardianship proceeding, an attorney might also be appointed for your mom that could subpoena bank records, etc. If it is proven that SIL executed these transactions while your mother was in an incapacitated mental state, she could get in trouble and be ordered to pay it back.

I am currently my mom's guardian because my sister and I petitioned as co-guardians but during this process it was found out that she was abusing mom and had taken most of her savings out in cash for her own personal expenses. APS has recommended I file criminal charges on mom's behalf, and I am currently awaiting further advice from mom's attorney.

My sister had moved in under the auspices of "helping" and had made mom a prisoner in her own home, was physically abusive, and left mom with very little of her savings left. It was the same, $5,000 here, $1,000 there, another $5,000, etc.

Mom is currently living with me until we can arrange for home care or AL.

You might go up to mom's bank too and let the branch manager know what is going on. If you have POA over finances, they can discuss mom's accounts and you may even be able to close the old ones and open new ones with the money under mom's name and you as DPOA. That way your in-laws can't touch the money.

Even if you don't have financial POA, you can still alert the bank manager to what is going on, and they may decide to put a freeze on the account until they get clarification.

About the mail, I opened up a P.O. Box and had mom's mail forwarded there so my sister would not be able to get mom's new financial information once I opened up the guardianship account.
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Reply to FrazzledMama
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Shlomo, I'm not prying, but what are the reasons for which you think the POA might not have been properly executed? When will you be able to have an attorney review it? Given the situation, I think this is a top priority because you could be taking control now.

The issue of reporting to the parole board is an excellent idea. If your state has a department of corrections website with parolees listed, check it out and see what the restrictions are. In Michigan, they're listed, including such things as refraining from using drugs.

If the parole officer chooses to do so, he/she can issue a violation and arrange with police for immediate incarceration pending hearing.

If there are none preventing your brother's widow from contact with your parents, contact the parole board by phone, and make arrangements to either visit or speak with the parole officer. He/she might be able to add a restriction w/o going through the state Parole Board.

Parole officers are subject to strict guidelines and cannot reveal the source of any information you might provide to them. They can act quickly, VERY quickly, to address a potential inflammatory situation. Emphasize that DIL has obtained and continues to request funds from an elderly couple with some dementia.

That's predatory behavior, and definitely threatening to the life and welfare of your parents.

Even if you're kind of afraid of the SIL, there's a possibility that if the POA is in fact properly executed, you could get a Personal Protective Order (restraining order) to prevent SIL and BF from harassing your parents. If they continue, that would probably be a parole violation as well.

(If you seek a PPO, add your family as well, as the SIL and BF may turn against you.)

It's thoughtful to be concerned about your mother's kind attitude toward these people, but the obligation to protect her is far overwhelming and more important than the good will she may feel towards them.
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