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My aunt, in her 90's has a longtime friend and caregiver, "Kathy". She went into a nursing home 2 months ago. She began to tell me that Kathy had changed the locks on the house and would not give her key, that she was "taking all her things and spending all the money." Alarmed I went to visit. (Mind you she has not had any cognitive problems or dementia so I believed her.) I got the key to the house from Kathy and discovered the items my aunt had requested were gone: the TV and her jewelry. I found bank statements in the mailbox and Kathy is robbing her blind, clearly spending aunt's money on personal bills. And she had my aunt declared incompetent plus has power of attorney over her, so she's at her mercy.

I reported this to the police and adult protective services. They responded (!!) and are investigating. But my aunt is now saying it's all fine! I think she is mad at me for blowing the whistle.
Turns out Kathy isn't paying the nursing home bill so the home is filing in probate for a court appointed guardian. My aunt will be kicked out and most likely go to a very bad nursing home.
The ironic thing is that my aunt is not happy with me, the nursing home people think I'm a family member trying to take control and get the $$ and Kathy is telling my aunt bad things about me (which is kind of how she operates). I blew the whistle; now I'm the bad guy.

I just hope there is a good outcome. I don't think my aunt will ever recognize that Kathy has done anything wrong; sort of like someone abused identifying with and protecting the abuser.

Any thoughts?

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No, apparently if you put someone on to a joint account they can do anything they like legally with the money. Kathy may be just this side of legal, but she smells like a stinkweed if you ask me. Maybe see an eldercare attorney, and though criminal charges won't stick, there might be something on the civil side you can do. If it came to a guardianship hearing, Kathy's behavior with your mom's money would not win anyone over to her side.
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If Kathy signed as responsible party, then Kathy foots the bill.
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Kathy signed her into NH. She has done banking for my aunt so there is a joint account and now she has almost emptied it. My family is not interested in getting her stuff or money but this just seems so unfair. The authorities are just useless if you ask me. Kathy has her brain washed; plus at this point I don't think my aunt really cares. Very disappointing.
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When Aunt signed into NH, who signed as responsible party?
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So sorry that this was the outcome.
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YOU TRIED!!! Kudos and hugs to you for that...
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That's awful news. I am so sorry!
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Kathy didn't have to answer anything. She came out smelling like a rose.
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Hope Medicaid comes knocking soon!
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What did Kathy claim to have spent your aunt's 50K on??? Thermal vests and sensible shoes?!
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whoops, posted before I was done. Sorry, don't expect much from the police or other authorities when it comes to the elderly. No wonder people commit this crime; it's a snap to get away with!
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The judge heard Kathy and my aunt and that was that; she didn't let the family (myself, my partner and my sister) say a thing. It was absolutely sickening.

I had heard the justice system was a joke but you have to experience it pers
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Update: went to court regarding my aunt. unbelievably neither the police or APS could find any wrongdoing related to Kathy. They had a joint account, so I guess it's perfectly fine for Kathy to spend $50K of my aunt's money. And, in court in front of the judge my aunt said she is happy with Kathy as her POA, so the arrangement is not going to change.
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Good for you for pushing this for her. In my job I see undue influence in 80 percent of the cases that we are brought into. Good Luck at the hearing and keep us posted. We are saying prayers!
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This Kathy woman sounds like a shameless fraud and charlatan - and it's the shamelessness of it that really turns the stomach. Go get 'er, gal! Wishing you the best of luck and a nice, sensible judge.
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Update on aunt: hearing is scheduled in probate and attorney I hired feels sure they will appoint an ad litem guardian (temp guardian from the court).

My aunt still is not convinced anything is wrong; little does she know that she might be discharged from the nursing home since the bill isn't being paid. (Per social worker at nursing home I can't be told anything since I am not POA. She is not convinced about Kathy; if she can fool a younger person, a professional,
imagine what she is doing to my aunt!

Nor are her other bills being paid(cable was left on at her house, now there is a huge bill there) although Kathy's are sure getting paid!

She told my aunt the court hearing is "something about her house"; I realize she has her totally brainwashed. It's called undue influence and there are some very interesting articles written by people in law or psychology on how an abuser gains power over someone - isolating them, convincing them only THEY care, poisoning their relationships against other people.

Anyway, I am bring a couple of family members to the hearing; please keep us in your prayers. I want to get this parasite away from my aunt. Her going to jail would be a huge bonus, but not much hope of that.
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Vstefans, it does happen, but it takes the family and police working closely to get anything done. A notorious case in our area involved a well-known religious member of the community who preyed upon an elderly lady. She made her dependent on her and her daughter, won her trust, isolated her from her family (all out of town), and proceeded to forge her name on credit cards and checks to buy thousands and thousands of dollars worth of clothes, shoes, etc. The family became suspicious, because they weren't.even allowed to talk to their sister on the phone. It breaks my heart for this elderly lady every time I think about her. When the police investigated, they found rented storage areas full of the things this abuser had bought..as well as prescription pads she had stolen to forge signatures on for meds to keep the lady asleep or out of touch with reality. When they had enough evidence, they called family members to join them. The found her in a locked room of her own home, full of all types of medications and unaware of her surroundings, and lying in her feces and urine that had been there long enough to cause lesions on her body. The abuser is still in jail, thank goodness and the efforts of the family and law enforcement! The happy ending, although I am sure she has passed away by now, is that with medical care and contact with her family, she recovered and was perfectly fine. I am sure this type of abuse has always taken place, but it took an extreme situation for this particular case to be prosecuted. Who knows how many other eldery people this woman had in her sites for the future? Another sad part of this case is that the abuser knew the husband and this lady before any of this. She knew they were wealthy, because they owned a successful business. When the husband died, all of this started... Most of us know what the LOVE of money can do... It certainly did it to this well-known and respected woman, who did these unthinkable acts! Maybe that contributed to my being overly protective of my mom when she became ill? There a a lesson in this for all of us who have elderly loved ones....and even for those who care about the elderly we don't know. There are predators around in sheep's clothing, and they must be stopped or, as you said, they will move on to the next victim.

Chemkrd, this response is in no way directed to you personally. It sounds as if you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. Your aunt is fortunate to have such a caring niece! Please keep the police informed about this Kathy. With persistence, perhaps they will take action that will keep her from doing this to someone else? Your immediate concern, of course, is the safety of your aunt...and her precious pet.
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I do not understand all the reasons people don't want to prosecute abusers, but the reality is that when you choose not prosecute, you choose to let other people get hurt. "Aunt, I love you and I want the best for you, and if Kathy goes on spending your money inappropriately, you won't have enough for your good care. And if you don't have good care I will feel very, very sad. And (if she has children and your state has filial responsbility laws) your kids oculd be on the hook for it, too! And...once she drains you dry, she will go on to do exactly the same thing to someone else. Please, please, tell the detectives the truth about Kathy - even if she gave you some good companionship and care, she has done very wrong things, and if you cover up for her you are helping her hurt people. If you are afraid of her we will be able to keep her away and keep you safe. Please please tell me anything else that isn;t right or anything else you are afraid will happen if she is arrested for what she has done to you "(or, better still, "to us").
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Chemkrd: I had a dog that looked a lot like the one in that picture. God, I really loved him.
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The dog looks wonderful in the picture. :) Obviously it is an important part of your aunt's life. Anyone who has a pet can relate. Since Kathy has been "found out" and has a lot of reasons to be angry, I think some of us are concerned by what treatment or threat (to her and to the dog) she might be using to keep your aunt on her side. I think you have received some very good advice here. Your first step, after following the legal advice and getting Kathy out of the picture, should be to establish a loving and trusting relationship with your aunt. As others have said, she is probably confused, embarrassed, and fearful of what might happen to her without Kathy. That is Kathy ' s leverage. You are certainly a wonderful person and caring niece to be involved in stopping her abuse and helping her to be safe in the future. Kathy is angry and worried, too, with good reasons. That is where the immediate concern for your aunt and the dog is coming from...at least from me. Use your own judgment, along with the support and advice you have received here, and I am confident that you will take appropriate actions and bond with your aunt. As you can see, you have a lot of us caring about her...and you!
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I don't think the dog is in danger (obviously by my picture I care about dogs!) She was obviously very startled and aggravated to see me at her door. She has a husband who seems reasonable and I hope that this gentle creature (an older dog) is safe. Sorry, I can't take the dog on too. And my aunt has NEVER been to the house.
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Hi Chemkrd; first, bless you for helping your aunt and not being afraid to walk into this nightmare and advocate for her. You are brave and obviously have a big heart. You do seem to be in a "kill the messenger" dilemma, but I do encourage you to be aware of how you discuss these things with your aunt. No doubt she is embarrassed and scared just as everyone here has pointed out. However, being sure to soften your words and use your approach to be as gentle as possible, non-accusatory (for being so blind), nonjudgmental, and be factual as possible. The message is the same but the delivery tactic can be modified if that is where you are getting the most push back from your aunt. Good luck to you; she is lucky to have you watching out for her.
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Maybe the dog is a hostage. Maybe your aunt is afraid Kathy will abuse the dog. I would ask the aunt if she would like you to take the dog for awhile because your child loves it or whatever. Once she can be sure the dog is safe with you (take the dog to visit her), see if your aunt feels more confident in defending herself. The elderly can be so vulnerable -- there was a story in a local newspaper about a caretaker whose boyfriend was a gangmember. A bunch of them actually moved in and lived off the elderly person for years. The misery of all this was finally resolved when a neighbor called an elder abuse hotline and a social worker called police. Talk about a life-threatening situation.
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I am reading all these stories and am appalled. How could Kathy and others like her sleep at night? Unconscionable.
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Chemkrd, if you don't like the idea of getting tangled in a legal web, how about asking a nice friendly accountant to do your aunt a comprehensive balance sheet? It would make everything crystal clear, and that might make pursuing it more attractive for the police. I suppose that would depend on your knowing a nice friendly accountant, of course :/

It would also enable you to say to your aunt "did you tell her she could borrow this much?"

Another thing that didn't occur to me 'til later is how foolish your aunt must feel. Listening to programmes about boiler room scams, a recurring theme is that people keep feeding them, and hate going to the police about them, because they feel so ashamed of having been taken in. The angrier you are with Kathy, rather than exasperated with your aunt, the easier it will be for her to stop feeling she was complicit in being defrauded and stop defending her abuser.

Unless, of course, Kathy can show you this 'permission' in writing. No? Didn't think so...
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Actually I would LOVE to see Kathy in jail but the police detective was not optimistic about criminal charges. Maybe civil charges, but then I am investing money and time into pursuing this "waste of good oxygen". I think if the news about the incident gets into the local paper she will be unable to do this again.

Does anyone have experience with the legal system for elder abuse? The county we're in takes it very very seriously as this is a very poor area and the elderly are a popular target. There is a special police unit for elder abuse and 2 detectives that work exclusively on it.

That being said, there are bank statements showing she paid her son's mortgage (my aunt's house is paid off), property taxes on a vacation home and all sorts of personal expenses from my aunt's account. Maybe not even a dime on my aunt, who says, "oh, I owe her a lot. I TOLD her she could borrow some money! She has thrown her lot in with Kathy and it is going to be hard to get her to understand how bad it has gotten.
Thanks for all the input; it definitely helps to not feel alone. Whistle blowers are often treated badly, that is a fact.
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She is in a scared victimized state of mind possibly? You and your family needs to get through to her on her situation in my opinion? There should never be forgiveness
when it comes to what damages Kathy has done in my opinion? Always keep her involved in her situations? Or you/.. won't be any different than "Kathy" it seems?
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Must follow this site. Thanks
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Elder Abuse lawyer NOW!

The sooner you start putting a stop to it the better. I'm am currently dealing with a simular situation but now both my parents are gone. The new will, said it was to be left to the grandchildren, but a relative came in & took it all by abusing their POA. Now it's even harder to fight.
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Yes, I am putting my trust in "the system" to help my aunt. I talked to a cousin and a couple of her friends who all confirmed the belief (along with the facts) that Kathy has been doing this for years - overcharging her, writing herself checks, etc. And lately trying to isolate her: throws away her personal mail and phone numbers, won't bring her cell phone or address books and to top it all off she
denounced a longtime friend (a Catholic deacon) saying that he was taking advantage of her! So she can no longer see him.
I guess the best defense is a good offense, right?
Over the years she has refused to turn in other people who were stealing from her; I had my hand on the phone and she begged me not to. She is way too trusting and forgiving; a truly wonderful person who is very vulnerable.
The "incompetence" was just an assessment done at the nursing home. I don't think it's the case although she is NOT making good decisions right now.
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