My loved one is the victim of financial elder abuse

Unfortunately financial elder abuse occurs far too frequently in our society.

This can be in the form of physical attack or neglect, and more commonly, financial theft. Various forms of financial elder abuse can occur, including but not limited to, telemarketing fraud, stealing money, jewelry, or personal belongings, intercepting cash or checks, and identify theft, to name a few. Many seniors are unwilling to come forward either out of lack of understanding or embarrassment. However, there is a very powerful tool at your disposal: the Elder Abuse Act. If you believe you or your loved one is a victim of financial elder abuse, don’t be reluctant to assert your rights. Please call an experienced attorney at Webb Law Group.

Frequently Asked Questions

California Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30(a) broadly defines financial abuse, which occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:

  • takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains or retains, any interest in real or personal property, for a wrongful use, or with intent to defraud or both; or
  • assists in doing any of the above described acts; or
  • does any of the above described acts through “undue influence” as defined in Welf. & Inst.C. § 15610.70. [Teselle v. McLoughlin, 173 Cal. App. 4th 156, 174, 92 Cal. Rptr. 3d 696, 712 (3d Dist. 2009)]
  • Strangers
  • Friends and/or neighbors
  • Family members
  • Caretakers
  • Financial advisors or someone who manages the elder’s finances
  • Bankers and tellers
  • Insurance and annuity salespersons
  • Mortgage brokers

My loved one is the victim of financial elder abuse.

Senior citizens are often vulnerable to financial exploitation on varying levels. They can be victimized by strangers, family, fiduciaries, caregivers, friends or neighbors. The California Legislature enacted the Elder Abuse Act “to protect elders by providing enhanced remedies which encourage private, civil enforcement of laws against elder abuse and neglect.”

Unlike in a normal fraud case, the financial elder abuse victim need not show actual or reasonable reliance to his or her detriment. Financial elder abuse is a form of fraud where no actual or reasonable reliance must be shown — and in some instances, no intent to defraud need be shown either.

Additionally, financial abuse provides many remedies including attorneys’ fees and costs, in addition to compensatory damages, pain and suffering, and all remedies provided by law. Welf. & Inst.C. § 15657.5 provides that upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence “that a defendant is liable for financial abuse” under Welf. & Inst.C. § 15610.30, “in addition to (compensatory damages) all other remedies otherwise provided by law,” the court shall award attorney fees and costs, including the cost of the services of a conservator devoted to the litigation of a claim for financial abuse. [Wood v. Jamison, 167 Cal. App. 4th 156, 164-165, 83 Cal. Rptr. 3d 877, 884-885 (2d Dist. 2008)] Attorney fees are unilateral to the plaintiff only. [Bell v. Mason, 194 Cal. App. 4th 1102, 125 Cal. Rptr. 3d 229 (2d Dist. 2011), as modified, (May 5, 20110.]

Because a victim can be awarded attorneys’ fees, this statute provides a powerful tool to protect one’s rights. Moreover, if the conduct proven is with malice, oppression, or fraud, punitive damages can be awarded under Civ.C. §3294(b).

If you would like to learn more about financial elder abuse in California, please contact experienced attorneys at Webb Law Group.

Contact Webb Law Group

If you would like to schedule a free, no-risk consultation* with Webb Law Group, call or text (559) 431-4888 or (619) 399-7700 between 7am and 5:30pm Monday – Friday. You can also submit a request through our online form. If we cannot answer you inquiry immediately, we will be in touch within 24 hours.

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