My dad began looking for companionship after my mom passed 5 years ago. He was 'found' 2.5 years ago by a local woman online who immediately began asking him to fund her business ideas. It has been a platonic relationship (although my dad wishes it were more), and he began giving her money periodically during the first 6 months.
After about 6 months, my sister and I realized she had convinced him to buy another house, putting a 600k lien against his own home. She promised to help fix it up and 'flip it' for profit. Instead, she fixed it up (with his money), began living in it, and has convinced him to pay her to live there while she 'sets up her business.' He pays all her bills, the payments on the line of credit and has spent about 350k out of pocket in addition to the money owed against his house. He has a very comfortable income, but is running out of money each month and unable to fulfill his other obligations to himself and the family. He does not seem to have a handle on his spending and seems to like the thrill of this risky type of behavior. He also likes to appear rich and able to help this woman in distress. I have researched this woman online. She appears to have a lengthy history of civil court cases finding that she owes money. She has effectively isolated my dad from his family and long time friends, and my dad is convinced that she is a friend and it is all going to work out. My dad is not receptive to financial help, if it doesn't align with this woman's terms. She has convinced him to sign secret agreements promising his continued support of her endeavors. Should I hire a PI to investigate her further? What are my options?
I have been told by lawyers it might be hard to deem my dad incompetent as this stage, for he presents some age-related cognitive difficulties, but has no diagnosis of dementia. I have also been told that people can choose to spend their money as they wish, even if they are being foolish with it. I have power of attorney, but I'm not sure it is helpful to me until my dad is able to be deemed incompetent. Is there any other angle that we can use to help with this terrible situation? Do the financial institutions or his lawyer have any responsibility to report this as elder abuse? What would it take to have an intervention either from medical professionals or the police? I am trying to preserve my relationship with my dad, but am finding it increasingly difficult to wade through the lies and financial traumas.