I am an “only” living 700 miles from 88 yr old mom, with whom I’ve always had a contentious relationship. I recently learned she trusted a “day trader” and his mother. From what I can piece together (my mom won’t divulge all the info to me), these two have scammed her. She has “loaned” him at least 125k (he has paid back 400), he has taken out a credit card in her name and charged approximately $40k worth of charges (which she paid off) and has gotten her to invest with his mother, an unknown amount in a penny stock scam.

We discovered this guy has a record for fraud, spent time in jail and he and his mom have been investigated by the SEC. We have been approached by FL and NJ securities officials and financial regulators. NJ APS has contacted her three times (she told them to leave her alone). There is also a federal legal component as well.

My mother will neither work with authorities nor make me her rep in this matter. She feels he is a “nice boy” who is trying to pay her back (NOT). She says she couldn’t live with herself if she thought she sent him to jail. She refuses to move against these people and is adamantly opposed to helping the authorities in any way.

My fear is these people have ALL her info. They could mortgage any or all of her properties and leave her destitute. She doesn’t feel her finances are in jeopardy and won’t protect herself in any way.

She still drives and in every other aspect is competent. Both our children are trial lawyers. We have all tried to make her see reason. How do I protect her? What should I do?

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Go to mom. Do not try to do this on the phone. Get someone in from local police or a federal agency that is involved and have them come talk to her with you there. They can show her the legal records and proof that these people are criminals. Let them explain that it will be HER fault if these people impoverish someone else, because she could have stopped them and didn't. If she still won't see this clearly, use it to take control of her finances. Your responsibility is to protect her. It sounds like she is using these people as a surrogate family. Maybe that is her message to you?
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to DrBenshir

The area agency on aging is responsible for investigating potential elder abuse, including financial abuse. In NJ this is done at the county level and can be initiated with a confidential report, For more information contact:
Unfortunately the abusers will cultivate a relationship with the elder that are lonely for the purpose of exploiting them. Also in some instances often either embarrassed... or afraid of their abusers. It is very important to stop this as the abuser will continue to do this to others as well.
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Reply to KAWnurse

Thank you for your thoughtful responses. My family tried to explain that we aren’t angry or disappointed and that she has nothing to be ashamedof. The money is lost and we only want to protect her from being taken advantage of by this predator in the future. She got angry at us and has refused our help and APS’s help and stormed off.
I then consulted a NJ estate lawyer. First, he said it would take two independent physicians to concur on competency and I need to understand this is a “nuclear” option. Second, it is her money and she is free to do with it as she wishes. Lastly, if she feels WE are being predatory or aggressive in terms of her assets, she can have APS protect her from us. I’ve spoken to her bank and her financial person to alert them to the danger. I reached out to both the NJ and FL offices of Financial regulation. I sent them what evidence I have. Hopefully, it helps them to build a case. So for now, until she wants our help we are done.
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Reply to LBKinSC
anonymous594015 Jan 8, 2019
That is heartbreaking. I'm very sorry to hear it.
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If you are Not her Power of Attorney, Have no legalities she put you in charge to help Protect her, Sad as it is, There isn't much you can do. However, if you do feel she is "Not playing with a full bag of marbles," You can go to Court and get Guardianship. Other than that, You may even have to show Tough Love by telling her "This is how, Mom, It is going down now."
Contact Anyone under the Sun , hun, Who has been in touch with her concerning this guy. Tell them to then Notify you instead of Mom, as a Concerned family member. If he does commit anything else, You can get him to "Stop" altogether now. But with what he is doing with screwing Mom over, I would say Mom is not altogether Right in the Mind and not Making the correct decisions.
Contact too your Protective Adult Services. I would have to say this shyster is Endangering the Welfare of an Elderly Vulnerable Elderly Person.
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Reply to Parise

Does she have someone close like a friend that she would listen to? My father did some business dealings right in front of me and he wouldnt let me say a word. Now blames me for the bad decision he had made. I wish i had one of his friends there, i think he would of listened to them.
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Reply to Lorraine11
LBKinSC Jan 2, 2019
Her 92 yr old cousin has been victim along with his kids. She won’t tell anyone as she is embarrassed.
Guardianship cannot be gotten on a competent person. She can also refuse help. APS's responsibility is limited. I had where woman I know was taken from her apt. because of Dementia and an infected foot. They left her adult special needs son there alone. Never told him Mom wasn't coming back. Had no transportation but TG someone brought him food. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how to help him. Finally, I contacted one of my nephews people. She had worked with this family before so knew his history. She called the health dept and they got him out of there. He is now in the same NH as his Mom and happy.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Has anyone shown her his mug shots and charges that he went to jail for? Sometimes cold hard facts in front of a person will help them see the truth. Letting her know that she is not the only one to fall for his scheming might also make her feel less gullible and foolish.
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Reply to Glendaj2

She is NOT competent. (Children are often the last to see the signs.) Anyone who gets scammed repeatedly is not able to make sound financial decisions.

Personally, I would make it clear to my mom that I will have nothing to do with her if she doesn't turn over control of her finances. I had to do that with my dad. It was hard. I told him I would cut off all contact with him and that he would never see his grandchildren again - it actually came to that (and I meant it). He finally yielded and within a couple of months wanted nothing to do with his own finances. He doesn't even bother opening his mail now.

Your mother will let these swindlers bilk her out of every penny. They won't stop. Then, she'll have no resources and the cost of her care will fall on you. Are you OK with that? If not, stop her now. Protect yourself.
Don't worry about punishing the scammers, focus on stopping the flow of your mother's assets into their pockets!
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Reply to IsntEasy
Rabanette Jan 7, 2019
Agree. OGs mom is definitely not competent.
I can certainly understand your frustration. My older sister who has early onset, was scammed by her OWN SON. He became her POA and had her sign off on insurance, and deceased husband's retirement. Took the money and went on a spending spree for himself. Then had my mother, who is in her 80's, take care of her because he didn't have the time. I took over as caregiver and found out that he was trying to use his POA for a cash out on my sisters retirement. But, he didn't have the correct documentation to steal it. My sister still had debts that needed to be paid, and he just basically made it harder for her. So, I was able to to get all her paperwork started so she couldn't receive her monthly annuities. We are paying off her debts and also able to hire a part time companion. Horrible people in this world....including your own family!!!
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Reply to Moonchung1
Mehitabel33 Jan 26, 2019
I had to take my OWN BROTHER to court: he was stealing our senile dad's money with the POA that Dad had stupidly given him (over my objections: I'd begged Dad to leave it with an attorney but that ship has sailed).

My brother refused to resign when my lawyer presented him with a letter detailing the crimes he'd already committed (we had the proof that he'd taken $100K and had set up a new investment account with a crooked pal of his who is an investment broker). So we had to take him to court.

His defense? He lied his rear end off, under oath, about his actions, and spent half his time on the stand assassinating my character. But I was acting on my father's behalf, and not asking for the POA myself: but for the court to appoint a neutral third party as conservator.

I won the court case, and the conservator was appointed, but my wicked brother has savagely amputated me from his life, vilified me to his daughters (they have no idea he disinherited them in favor of his third wife) and everyone at the nursing home; and has even begun to try to get our addled father to turn against me.

So I have no immediate family left. Dad is very far out of it, so it's hard to even have a conversation. My mother and sister died in 2009 (cancers). Fortunately, I have three cousins I'm pretty close to, and two aunts and uncles, and they all know the score.

Still: I had to do it, because the alternative would have STILL left us with a broken family, but with Dad destitute and possibly me as well. Given my brother's actions and his utter lack of a conscience or any remorse, he didn't give a d___ about us anyway, so in reality, what relationship was there to lose?

And I had adored him. I knew he had some Baggage, but I never would have thought him capable of This. I am absolutely gutted.
Collect the evidence and petition the courts. I had to do this to get guardianship for my mom
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Reply to MACinCT

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