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My sister is secondary if I am not available. Yesterday she needed something done for her as she is using some of my moms credit. Since then she has stated that the copy could be modified on computer. She asked her son to take my POA that he had a copy of and change it on the computer to his name so he could fix what she needed. I told them both I would put them in jail. What protects me from her doing fraud on this poa?

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I've never experienced this kind of situation when working for elder law firms, but I think the optimum solution would be for your mother to execute a new DPOA without your sister being designated as secondary, ASAP. If she's not capable of doing so, follow Pam's advice. But act quickly to get the DPOA rescinded.

Is there anyone else who could act if you're not available, someone else in the family? Alternately it could also be an attorney, but that would involve fees.

I think your sister's employer would be horrified that his/her paralegal has fraudulently modified a DPOA. Any attorney I worked for would probably be uncomfortable having someone who would do that on his/her staff.

To avoid any conflict of interest, it probably would be best to find another elder law attorney.

I also have concerns about your sister's actions affecting your mother's credit worthiness, especially given that your sister is recovering from bankruptcy filing.

You are aware, aren't you, that a home mortgage indebtedness will affect your mother's credit score since it means a substantial and long term debt commitment? I'm also not even sure a mortgagee would accept any kind of alternate credit (such as "borrowing" credit) without your mother co-signing the mortgage (see comments below). I know any bank with which I've worked would not.

You might want to consider putting 90 day fraud alerts on your mother's credit file (and yours, just for protection). After my father's credit card was illegally used for someone's cell phone account, I began filing 90 day fraud charges every 3 months.

There are longer fraud charge restrictions that can be filed but it's my understanding a police report would have been required. In this case, Verizon refused to cooperate in locating the fraudster, the local police didn't want to get involved because we couldn't provide jurisdiction since the theft of the credit card number could have occurred anywhere.

I almost hesitate to raise this issue, but you might
put a fraud alert on as well to prevent your mother being named as a co-mortgagor on any new mortgage your sister might need. Normally mortgagors must sign loan documents at closing, but with a DPOA, your sister could theoretically sign on her behalf and your mother would never be the wiser.

Freezing your mother's credit status is also a good idea. Don't forget to notify the 3 credit reporting bureaus as well.
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Can you cancel the phones to eliminate one more problem? Your sister could go to a prepaid phone.
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yes she is a paralegal and it would put her in Jeopardy. I just need to be sure that this does not come up again without my knowledge.
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Ziggy, yes, see an elder law attorney to protect you mom's assets to say nothing of her credit worthiness. Your sister could be in trouble with her employer. Maybe you should tell her that you will notify him. She may be in danger of losing her employment as well as facing criminal charges of fraud. You can retain another attorney and pay for it with mom's funds if it is to protect her and in her best interest. What sister did is unethical to say nothing of illegal. Does she have any sort of legal certification that she could also have put in jeapordy?
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Ziggy, you don't need a new attorney, you need to file a police report. Once they investigate, the corrupted POA is removed by a Judge. That's the best solution.
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Just to clarify the situation, I have POA and if I can't do my duties my older sister can then use the power of Attorney. Sister went bankrupt last year and has been borrowing my moms credit to purchase a home and cell phones etc. I made her pay of everything but one credit card that she is working on and the cell phones. Yesterday she needed to return cell phones for the correct phones but since she is not on the account they would need to take my 85 year old mom with them. There solution was to use a emailed copy that I had sent to a company and copied her to modify the POA and take my name off and put her son's name on it. They were both willing to do this till I threated jail to them but now I don't trust them. I am not sure but how do I protect the POA from someone modifying a copy. Can I register this with the state?

To answer the Attorney that created the POA, my sister works for him so I am in a bit of an issue to say anything to him. I believe that at this point I need to maybe take the POA to a new attorney and have him record it for permanence. I am not really sure but I am freezing all her credit, and sending POA to all her creditors and notifying them that no one should be using these accounts without proof of who they are.
My sister then told my mom she did not know why I am so upset as it was only a simple fix for a return on a cell phone. Hope this does not happen to many people. I am astonished at the attitude that I got from the sister.
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OMG, I can hardly believe someone would do something so blatantly improper and probably illegal. This is fraud.

First, was there anything that really required repair, allegedly giving your nephew an opportunity to use your mother's credit card?

Second, I assume you're also a signatory on the credit card(s). If so, call the card issuer and ask that your sister's name be removed. If necessary, get new cards.

Is he in the habit of performing repairs for your mother? If so, figure out a better way to reimburse him - you could buy the supplies and pay him by check, but don't allow him any authority to purchase things on your mother's behalf.

Angel makes a good point about unauthorized charges affecting Medicaid qualification - you don't really have any idea what the nephew is buying unless you get the credit card bill (and I hope they do come to you.)

If he buys something unnecessary, it will be much harder to get the chargs reversed given that he's family and that you had prior knowledge of his unauthorized use.

Giving your sister the benefit of a doubt (which may be too kind), she may not realize she's committed fraud. To emphasize this, I would ask the attorney who prepared the DPOA to send her a letter firmly explaining the limitations of the DPOA and that her actions were unauthorized. It will be well worth it for a couple of reasons:

1. Attorneys know how to handle these types of issues in ways that get the points across, and can make it clear what the consoequences are.

2. It's documentation from an independent party that your sister and nephew are on notice their actions are fraudulent.

I would also contact the local PD to find out what recourse you have before having to file a complaint and ask them for intervention. Police don't always like to intervene in family situations, so they may counsel you to try to work this out with your sister. But see what they can do - as with the attorney, it's documentation in the event this situation gets out of hand and the credit card use is abused.

Good luck. This is scary - I'm still in shock that someone could do this.
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First, she shouldn't be using your mom's credit, it could cause huge legal problems, make your mom responsible for her debt, and disqualify her from Medicaid.

Second, that is blatant fraud. If they do go through with this, you can press charges.

Angel
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