We're 5 sisters and both of our parents are still alive - Dad is 87 yrs old and Mom is 82. Three years ago, my parents gave one of my sisters a POA to sell one of their properties back in our country thinking that they may not be able to go back home because of their ages. Since my sister cannot bring back the whole amount from the sale, she deposited the money in a local bank there under her name and a trusted friend with AND/OR joint account. When she came back here she told everyone (4 sisters and both parents) that the arrangement was for the friend to wire the allowed maximum amount every year until it is depleted (per bank manager's advise). It's been 3 years and my parents have not gotten a single penny except for what my sister brought back.
When asked what's going on, she has all kinds of reasons (that she may get charged and her friend for money laundering, that she doesn't want to go to jail if her friend releases the money etc, etc etc).
We also asked her about the original arrangement (wiring the allowed amount to our Mom's and Dad's account here) and she refused to do that too.
We would like to take the initiatives (to talk to her friend) , but she won't even give the friend's contact information.
What hurts us the most is.. she thinks we're that naive or ignorant (if i may say) when it comes to withdrawing/releasing/wiring one's savings.
For a fact, we know friends/relatives back there who purchased properties, bought luxury cars and use their savings, withdrawing cash as down payments. We really don't understand her way of thinking/reasoning.
We(3 other sisters) all agree that she and her friend may have put down the money in a business venture that they cannot pull it from. We're all hoping that if that is the case, that someday (I don't know when) that my parents will still be able to enjoy the fruits of their hardship.

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Thank you both gardenartist and pamstegma for your inputs. I still believe she had good intentions to release the funds for our parents' sake. I said that because when she came back, she met with all of us and reported the events that took place (and that's when she told us that her friend would wire the money little by little). Our concern is the funds could have been used somewhere without our permission and up to this point (after 3 years) she's still not upfront with us.That she's buying time to get the funds back.
We all agree that we won't take any legal actions against her. I just wish there is another way to get this resolved. Thank you again!
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You need a lawyer in that country to go after her and have her arrested if she refuses to cooperate.
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You have a complicated issue for which no one here can offer succinct advice. You refer to "our country", so I assume you're from a country outside of the US, and that the property sold is in that country as well.

Neither the sale or the funds would be be governed by US law but rather by the laws of the country to which you refer, until such time as any funds might be wired back to the US, when they would become subject to money laundering regulations.

Given that the funds aren't in the US but rather in a foreign bank (or possibly an international bank?), I think you need to see an international attorney who specializes in transactional law (which includes banking) or banking specifically to find out what your options are.

I think eventually you're going to have to take action to release the funds under the banking and fiduciary laws of the country in which the property is located.

However, if the POA was executed here, your parents do have the option to revoke it and appoint other family members (if desired). Then you and/or your siblings and/or parents can contact "your country" and the bank involved at the time the first and only funds were brought back.

Another however, your profile states that dementia is involved. Are either of your parents legally cognizant enough to revoke the POA and execute a new one? If not, you may have to again rely on assistance from "your country" to take action against your sister either there or here (where jurisdiction for conveying the POA authority is grounded) to revoke her authority.

So it seems to me that dual jurisdiction might be a complicating factor.

It also seems as though it's time to get your sister out of the picture and allow the rest of the family to take over to find out the status of these funds.

You raised the issue of money laundering as well as the potential of a friend having used the money, possibly unlawfully. If the former, you need to start covering yourself and your parents from any potential legal liability. If the latter, there may be grounds for fraudulent conversion or other criminal charges in your home country.

You might have to get law enforcement involved first to protect your family and second to locate the rest of the funds and get them released.
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