Follow
Share

I have been a caregiver for a elderly man for almost a year. He said he cannot afford it anymore, so he decided to pay me instead of a company. So I got my checks and cashed them and one day I get to his home and he is accusing me of stealing his checks and writing them for myself. He has said he is calling the police and I'm afraid I could be in a lot of trouble for something I would never do. I have received 4 checks from him however, it was a verbal aggreement. Which is a mistake on my part. I don't know what do to. It really comes down to a he said she said situation. Any suggestions?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I have been in the legal field for nearly 40 years. If you didn't sign those checks, you have nothing to worry about.....unless the person who actually signed those checks decides to say that you and her/him had partnered up to steal from your client....then you may have a problem. My suggestion? Call whomever is in charge of your client and have a sit down with them. Tell them the situation and then quit. Don't fool yourself into thinking that just because this situation has been resolved, another equally serious situation won't arise...because it will. First it's accusing you of writing checks next it could be accusations of stealing cash from the home or other valuables. Anything....ANYTHING that you want him and/or his family to know should be in writing with you keeping a copy for your own records. That includes your sit down with his kids or wife (or whomever is in charge). Write everything you want to say in a letter format, sign and date it and include a signature line at the bottom of your copy for them to sign or initial that so you can prove down the road that you gave it to them and they read it or you discussed it. Above all else, quit this job before you wind up in jail, having to pay bail and then having to pay an attorney to get you out of the mess. Under the table money is awesome until you have to spend it all - and then some - on legal fees. Not to mention the damage this situation and any future situations will cause to your reputation which will prevent you from obtaining gainful employment in the future.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Is there a responsible family member (spouse, sibling, adult child) with a POA, or in charge of the person/couple yet?
If so have them write the checks.
Otherwise, document, document, document! Time sheets, corresponding to each and very check for your services, receipts if you do any reimbursed shopping for them, etc. Make copies of each check and each corresponding time sheet and create a file for your files and a copy file for the client's records.
Make sure THE CLIENT signs the checks, not the other helper.
If there are no reliable family members or legal documents drawn up, you may need to contact your county agency on aging or elder care office, since you are concerned about their abilities to manage their finances and their memory of what they have requested, and what they have paid for. .
Definitely consult an attorney , not only to protect yourself, and other workers, but to protect your client.
Not everyone is as honest as you are, and the next aide they hire could do a lot of damage with access to their check book and finances.
It is a tricky tightrope to walk because you want to protect them and their assets, but if you need to ask a family member or someone else to get involved or oversee their finances, your client will probably be very very upset with you. But having them upset with you is better than having a family member or someone else enter the picture months from now and accuse you of possibly ripping them off financially.
Kudos to you for your integrity!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The agency I use to care for my dad requires of me that I not hire their caregivers privately for a year after I terminate their service. The consequences include payments for their legal services to recover lost income. Not sure that's helpful to you, but did your agency have a similar agreement? There may be trouble brewing for the client if they did.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I meant to edit my post but didn't get a chance before I had to leave for a bit.

Look, there's a problem here, and you realize it. That's half the battle. Just don't let it go - do something proactive to try and fix and/or halt the damage being done. It's obvious you can't continue working for this man - if there's one thing that's true about dementia, it's that they sometimes fixate on a problem and it plays on a loop in their head - so they never forget it and harp on it for a very long time - so this is going to be a problem for him (and you, if you stay) - long after it's been resolved. Even if there was no wrongdoing involved, he thinks there is, and that's what he's going to fixate on. It's not a healthy working environment for you, and exposes you to legal trouble as well.

I can only imagine the stress you're feeling right now over this, but don't just sit and let it get worse - take action on it right away so things don't get worse.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Just wanted to jump in and wish you good luck with this messy situation. Sending you a hug.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Not to jump on the pile here, but I do agree that there's a serious problem here.

Client writing out his own checks and signing them to pay bills, including caregiving? Not a problem.

Client having legal paperwork in place assigning a POA and then that POA is accepted by the bank and writes out/signs checks on the client's behalf, including for caregiving? Not a problem.

Two caregivers without a legal contract in place, only a verbal agreement, with one caregiver writing out checks to the other and forging the client's name on them? HUGE problem.

I agree that dementia is an issue here, but the bigger issue is that you are not working through an agency, have no contract in place, and worst of all, one of you is forging this man's signature on his checks. In his demented state, he has every reason to be upset, because his mind no longer allows him to remember any agreement you two made with him - he only sees that someone else is writing and signing checks and in his mind, that means theft.

Look at this through the eyes of someone from the outside of the situation - it looks very bad, even if there was no ill intent and you had his best interests in mind.

Step 1: Talk to the family and explain the situation truthfully and have a representative of the family go over the bank account to prove there was no wrongdoing.

Step 2: If the family accuses you of stealing, get yourself an attorney, because you're going to need it. (Not trying to scare you here, just stating facts.)

Step 3: Leave that job and never put yourself or anyone else in this position again - ever. If you come out of this without charges being filed against you (even if they're unfounded), count your blessings and move on. Find another line of work or go through an agency. Never work without a contract in place or an agency that can look out for you.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but this is not a good situation and some harsh truths need to be faced here.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Until saw the part where another caregiver was writing checks on his behalf, I didn't think you had anything to worry about. Oops--you do.
Can you talk to a member of the family and bring copies of the cancelled checks with you? A forward approach (rather than simply slinking away) is best. Likely the family is aware of their parent's situation. Tell them exactly what transpired and be honest. Hopefully, they'll understand and step in.
I would also then quit the job, nobody needs the stress of this. There's too many fingers in the pie right now.....probably this man shouldn't be writing checks or handling his own finances anymore.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Sounds like a dangerous situation, if it is not this it would be something else. If it were me, I would just leave out of there.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You're in trouble. And it sounds like he has cause to be concerned. If I hired someone a company to care for my parent and they were writing checks out of his checkbook to themselves, lol, yeah. Sounds like he's aware of some wrong doing on someone's part. The longer it goes on, the worse it'll be.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Heavens, I don't think the problem is so large, and even thinking of it going to court is one more way I resent how our criminal justice system creates big categories then deals with any level of offence, calling it by the same category that is famous. They assume that nothing can be solved informally, but that is not true, and it's much better to know the law, but try to find an informal way to solve this.

I think your problem is that you have not found allies, people that you know, who know the man, know he asked you to work for him, people who know that you worked to help him and that was a positive arrangement.

As 97yearoldmom suggests, you should consider if there are family members you can tell, that you thought you were being helpful and making a good arrangement for both of you, but he has now forgotten. I suggest you look around, make a list of witnesses and allies about how helpful your work has been to him: consider a neighbor of his, a cleaning lady, some family member or even a store clerk - people around you who have noticed you working to help him over the year.

Make some contact with them. Also, contact a local Council on Aging or a Geriatric Care Manager - find someone who works in Elder care, who knows how they can often agree to one thing, but if they have even early dementia - they will change what they said. You should talk with some outside party, not officially, but just to have a witness, beyond the other worker - she needs a witness too. If she still works there, or if you do, wait for some good moments with him, and use that time to have your witness draw up an informal contract, maybe someone in his family would sign something saying they are glad you are helping him.

Also, if you stop going, because you say you don't know how you will be paid, that will get family quickly on your side for they will suddenly be stuck with the job of finding someone to help him on Mondays... and if your work has generally been helpful so far, they will help by agreeing that you are in a positive work agreement, and make a plan to see that you are paid, maybe they could arrange payments, if he has become forgetful.

I learned the fickleness and accusations when working in homes, for an agency. I helped a woman declutter her super-packed kitchen, working with her for hours, gained her trust and worked with her to finally sort and throw out stuff. 10 cans of half eaten cat food lined up on the floor... no room to walk, bags of newspapers.

At the end of a hard work day, I didn't know what to suggest she do with a water filter she said was a gift that she didn't want and it was never used.

I asked her wish, and she said, "you take it, you can use it". I said OK, and took it, more to help her empty the kitchen than for myself, for I never used it either (it cluttered up my kitchen, until a year later!)

But the next week I took a week off to travel, and when I returned, she did not remember anything about me, would not let me in, had told everyone I was a thief who stole a water filter she had received as a gift!

Thankfully, most elder-care agencies and even elder lawyers - are used to such mood swings and forgetfulness, and suspiciousness. They deal with it often, so they will understand and help you get past this event.

My company understood my difficulty, and helped me move past it, just by the fact that they trusted me and recognized from my story that I had not intended any fraud. AND by now you are well warned - don't set up any such arrangement again, without corroboration of some trusted outside party!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The only person that is allowed to indorse a check is POA He most likely has the start of Alzheimers.
It does not get better,They -in their mind is that everyone is stealing from them.If he was confronted
His story would change daily. They go through many changes-- they sometimes think there is someone in their bedroom & they have had the person arrested.
Or someone is looking in the window.My sister went through many changes .She called on a Fri crying & telling me herbrother inlaw & girlfriend ere trying to steel her good set of dishes & were taking tools from the shed - her hubby had passed away & she rally sounded convincing. I later in the day phoned & said I was co I got out to have a chat with her & the brother in-law- sheasked why??When I reminded her that she phoned crying & said her in- law was taking things of her hubby's she said-- quote- I DID NOT!! It does not get better believe me!!!Phone in sick & don't go back.
I would seek advice from a lawyer & if anything comes about the lawyer can request to see the cashed checks from the bank for the last 12 months.
Good Luck to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Without a written contract, it's a "he said, she said" situation. Get out of there--whatever he's paying you, it's not worth that aggravation and abuse, and you certainly do not want to be accused of crimes you did not commit which will cost you a fortune to defend yourself. If I were you I would quit--it's time to stop taking care of him and let a nursing home -- or his family--do it. Drop him off at a local hospital and go (if he's that bad off; if not, just quit). If the man has family it's just a matter of time they too will be accusing you of things. Family is the first people to, as the saying goes,  stab caregivers in the back.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Helper933, the gentleman probably has dementia and there is a phase where some people think others are stealing from them.

I am curious as you had mentioned that you worked for an Agency and most recently your Client is now paying you.... usually with most caregiver companies, a caregiver cannot work personally for a Client until after a set time, like 6 months to one year after leaving the Agency, depending on their rules. Otherwise your Client would have to pay a "finders fee" of a set amount. The company my Dad used the finder fee was $10k.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Get legal advice from an attorney.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You do realize do you not that you privately have to deal with income taxes plus if you get injured on the job and you are no longer with an agency, who is paying for workers comp? How is your contract set up with this client? Country mouse has good suggestions. Meanwhile you should immediately seek a new job with that agency
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Helper...

Who is "the other girl who is there"?
What about the elderly gentleman's wife? - is she receiving care too?
Were you originally working through the agency, then agreed later to this private arrangement?

The part about the checks, I agree with Rainmom, is your main trouble. Did the other caregiver tell you, and you believed her, that she had your client's permission to write checks for him? Is your client also accusing her of stealing from him?

Forgery is a really serious crime. It does sound as if you may have been party to it; but it is possible that you are an innocent party. The silver lining is that because you were paid by check there is a clear record of how much money has passed through your hands. You should also be able to present a record of how much work you have been doing over the last twelve months; so if you've received roughly what would be expected for the work done, this will help you to show that you haven't been - well, stealing.

The gentleman agrees that he did pay you back for money you spent for him. This is very important: it shows that he was aware that you were running errands for him and that he was happy for you to do that and, above all, that he *expected* you to be paid. He can't, for example, have thought you were just a friendly helpful neighbour - not over that length of time. And more importantly, since he wanted you to be reimbursed - how did he think that was being done? Was he in fact aware, had he given his permission, for the other caregiver to use his check book?

I'd like you to think about going to the police or APS yourself. If there is a free legal advice centre or a pro bono law office near you, go there first and take advice; but I do honestly think your best way out of this mess is to report it.

This couple does need care. They have been using and paying for care services. The husband is now very upset and angry about misdeeds that do seem to have gone on, which you were aware of but not actively party to. If you blow the whistle it will prevent any further abuses and alert APS to their risky living situation.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I kinda think you've got good cause to worry. Sorry - but you do. 

A co-worker writes you a check - more than one, actually - on the clients account and then forge his signature. Seriously?

I'm sorry that I can't be more supportive or give positive suggestions but the fact that it didn't occur to either you or your co-worker that at most this is a crime and at the least is unethical - well, it's mind boggling to me.

Are you still working for the agency? I guess it's besides the point but didn't you and/or the client sign an agreement with the agency that no private pay agreement could be entered into? That seems to be a standard practice within the professional caregiving agency's -

Regardless- I'm a bit at a loss as to any suggestions. The only one that occurs to me is to try to have a calm discussion with the gentleman - tell him there must have been a misunderstanding, and ask him what you need to do to make things right between you again. If he says to pay back the money - I'd suggest you figure out a way to do it. And, hope like h*ll he doesn't call the police, APS, his Bank or his children.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have tried talking to him but he is to upset to talk to. And I think he has dementia however he thinks his wife has it. Not him. The only reason I am concerned is I am not the only care giver, and the other girl that is there helped him with his bills so she was writing his checks out and signed some of mine. I don't want to get in trouble for trying to help him out, I was hoping we could work past this but I am at the point where it is making me sick, I feel awful he thinks I would ever do something so horrible but I also don't want my life totally messed up over a huge thing like this. I don't know what to do. He's denying ever writing me any checks for pay but is acknowledging the checks he wrote to reimburse any of my money I spent for him. I just don't know what to do.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

No. If there were checks drawn on his account it should be easy enough to look at the checks and identify the handwriting. If you have been caring for him a year, you should know if he has dementia. Were you working through an agency and he hired you direct to work for him instead of going through the agency? In the years time have you met family members or friends of his? If so, perhaps you could get them in to help him realize that he wrote the checks. Perhaps you have other proofs of his signature? Signatures are very specific. If you didn't write the checks then his claim won't hold up. However I'm wondering what you will do about his not having a caregiver? I suppose if you don't know his family, you could call area on aging and have them look in on him soon. This is another example of why care contracts are important. I hope it works out for all concerned.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.