How do I help my elderly dad realize he is being scammed by a local woman?

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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.

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I would consider hiring a PI to investigate her and see how many times she has pulled this con and who her previous victims were. I suggest preparing a folder of logical and objective documents that question the woman's actions or her history.

Ask your dad over to your house for a weekly meal and visit - and do not bring up this woman at all - just work at reestablishing and maintaining your relationship with your dad and having time with him where his lady friend is not around. When/if you have a reasonable amount of information, then toward the end of one of these visits tell your dad that you are concerned about him and would like him to look through the folder so he can understand why you have concerns about his friend. Tell him you love him and that will never change regardless of who he chooses for his friends.

If this woman does manage to take your Dad for a ride, you want to be around to help when she leaves him in the dust.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Something similar happened to my dad after my mom died. He came across an old high school girlfriend online. Eventually he moved in with her in another state. When he finally came to his senses he was $60k poorer. I had his POA but as you said there was nothing I could do because he was capable of making his own bad decisions and throwing his money away any way he wished. In time he came back to town full of regret and embarrassment and I tried to absolve him of his "foolishness" as he called it. I tossed out half a dozen bad decisions I had made in my life and reminded my dad that he was always there when I was making those decisions and he was there when those decisions turned out to be bad.

I guess what I'm saying is to just be there for your dad regardless of what you think about his relationship with this woman. Hope that his eyes are opened at some point but accept that they may not be. Be supportive of your dad. You don't have to support what he's doing but love him anyway. I knew my dad was grieving my mom and that's why he got into the situation he did. It sounds like what you're dad is going through. But if you try to fight him on this, "for his own good", you may lose him.

You asked how to help your dad who's being scammed. I'm sure you've already tried to talk to him. Wait a little while and then try again. Don't be confrontational, don't put your dad in the position of having to defend this woman. Just continue to express your concern and keep supporting and loving him.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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I knew someone who hired a PI. they were wanting to catch a cheating spouse.

the PI did catch the two people in a motel together. plus they took pics (I think) and followed both of them. and kept a record of each time they met and where.

this is such a shame. it makes me upset just reading this. I feel for you. I don't want to be mean, but I hope you could find out some solid info that would make your dad come to his senses. plus if she gets caught maybe she can get legally in trouble somehow...
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Reply to wally003
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