There is a growing problem in the senior care industry where seniors are being exploited and robbed by their caregivers. There is an increasing number of cases where seniors’ money and personal items are disappearing and the only people that have access to them are their caregivers. This points to a growing problem of financial fraud and theft in senior communities, which puts seniors on fixed incomes at risk.
If you or a loved one has experienced financial fraud or property theft in a nursing home, consult with a San Francisco missing money or personal items lawyer as soon as possible. You may be able to recover your items, money, or compensation for them from the party that is responsible. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for legal advice and services.
Signs of Financial Fraud in a Nursing Home
Financial fraud is one of the more difficult problems to identify in nursing homes, specifically because it is a hard crime to see. However, there are several signs that you can look for. These signs include:
- Missing items: Items of value that just disappear without an explanation could have been stolen. Other people in the facility may take them to sell or keep because they have monetary value.
- Rapidly decreasing bank accounts: Money that disappears out of bank accounts quickly may also be a sign of fraud. Seniors rarely make large purchases or too many purchases, especially on a fixed income.
- Missing credit or debit cards: Missing cards may mean that someone is secretly trying to access bank accounts for seniors without their permission or knowledge.
- Missing checks: Checks that disappear might have been cashed without seniors knowing. By intercepting them before seniors can cash the checks, it is likely that it will go unnoticed for some time.
- A lack of money: Seniores should have enough money in their accounts to cover their costs, especially if they live in a nursing facility. Having a sudden lack of money that makes it difficult to pay bills may be a sign that a senior’s money is disappearing faster becomes someone is withdrawing it.
- Credit score changes: When identity theft happens, the victims’ credit score could change. If there are major changes in a senior’s credit score and there are records of purchases that do not make sense, then this may be a sign of identity theft.
- Missing IDs or documents: Missing personal identification cards or documents can lead to identity theft.
- Suspicious behavior from staff members: Staff members that act suspiciously around certain seniors may be involved in a financial scheme that revolves around that person.
There are other signs of financial fraud that are not covered on this list. Any time that there is the possibility of financial fraud, a thorough investigation is needed. Seniors have a particularly high-risk level because of their dependence on other people.
Steps You Can Take After Missing Money or Personal Items
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which are in charge of how Medicare and Medicaid are administered, are aware of the growing problems around financial fraud and theft in nursing homes. In response, it made several recommendations on what to do when these problems occur. The most important thing to do first is to look for the items to see if they were misplaced. If not, then report them stolen. The police will create a report and begin an investigation. You may also want to consult a lawyer for legal advice and support.
Additional steps should be taken to secure financial accounts and assets. This includes changing access codes and monitoring accounts for unauthorized transactions. By keeping a more focused eye on the accounts that are still open, it may be possible to spot fraud or theft. In many cases, banks and financial institutions can help fix these problems and identify who is behind them.
For a free legal consultation with an missing money or personal items lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 842-6336
Seeking Legal Action
There are cases where legal action may be the best option to offer protection to seniors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is focused on helping facilities find better ways of protecting seniors. Its recommendations include training on the signs of fraud and theft, as well as establishing processes for reporting and collecting information. By having a system in place, facilities can offer more support and protection to seniors.
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Possibly Recoverable Compensation
In cases where lawsuits are filed to recover compensation, the most prominent type of compensation is restitution. In essence, the perpetrator must pay back the value of what they stole. This can help seniors correct their financial issues and minimize the impact on their future.
Another type of compensation that could be awarded is damages. Compensation awards can cover the financial costs of fixing the problems that fraud or theft created. For example, fraudulent purchases may affect credit scores. Compensation could cover the cost of having the credit score repaired or the purchases expunged. The key requirement for this is that your San Francisco missing money or personal items lawyer must prove that the damage was done as a result of the crime and not from other causes. Having the correct documentation should make this an easier process.
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Settlement vs. Trial
If you do decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, it will take time to go to trial. The courts are full of cases and can take a long time to give you a court date. In this time, you are likely to receive a settlement offer from the plaintiff in the case.
This is not uncommon as most personal injury cases settle out of court before they go to trial. Since it takes a long time and most facilities do not want to go to court, they offer settlements that victims can agree to. However, it is important to have your lawyer review the agreement before you agree to it. The initial offer is usually too low to offer enough compensation for your issues. Instead, have your lawyer renegotiate if needed.
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Discuss Your Potential Case with Our Legal Team
If you or a loved one is the victim of fraud or theft, consult with a San Francisco missing money or personal items lawyer to find out what your legal options are. You may be able to seek compensation to cover your expenses and fix related issues. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to speak to our legal team about your case.