As our loved ones age, they often struggle with tasks they previously could handle on their own. This can include financial matters. The elderly are especially vulnerable to scams and exploitation. If they are in nursing homes, their assets might also be threatened by administrators and caregivers.
Financial exploitation can leave nursing home patients without the ability to pay for their care or make other purchases. It can drain the assets they planned to pass along to their children. And, it can prevent them from being able to escape a bad situation.
If you believe your loved one has been financially or abused or exploited by someone connected with their nursing home, we urge you to reach out to our team today. We want to help your loved one recover the money and assets that were stolen from them.
Schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Kansas City attorneys by calling 816-888-8888. Peterson & Associates, P.C. has been serving families like yours for nearly 30 years.
Common Types of Financial Exploitation and Abuse
Unethical individuals will often stop at nothing to steal money from elders, using methods like manipulation, intimidation, false pretenses, or just accessing accounts without a person’s consent. They can drain money while hiding the transactions from the individual and their friends and family. They might also use money to control an individual by withholding access to resources unless that person does as they say.
You or your loved one may notice:
- Personal belongings like cash, valuable, medications, and more going missing
- Financial statements not reaching account holders
- Checks with forged signatures
- Multiple checks made out to cash
- Bank transfers to unknown accounts
- Payments for goods or services your loved one never bought and/or would not be interested in
- Monetary gifts made to unknown “friends”
- Changes in your loved one’s spending habits, even if they claim it is voluntary
Another risk of financial exploitation is your loved one’s bills—like their cell phone, for example—going unpaid. If you notice anything strange about your loved one’s finances, or they are unable to explain certain transactions to you, someone around them may be taking advantage.
Medical Fraud in Nursing Homes
Americans are used to expensive medical care, so sometimes fraudulent charges escape our notice. However, doctors, nurses, and healthcare facilities have been known to overcharge for services; bill twice for the same procedure; or even charge patients for care they never received. Nursing home patients may be especially vulnerable to this type of treatment because of heightened medical needs. Someone who receives frequent treatment might easily overlook a fake or increased bill.
We know how frustrating it can be to challenge an incorrect medical charge. You do not have to solve this problem on your own. Our attorneys can lend significant weight and authority to your requests. We can investigate the matter and take over the endless explanations and follow-ups. If it turns out the issue was more than just a mistake, we can also help you take legal action to punish the facility for fraud.
How Financial Abuse Harms Nursing Home Patients
Unfortunately, financial exploitation is a high-yield crime. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates financial abuse and fraud may cost elder Americans over $2.5 billion annually. While financial abuse is reported at higher levels than physical or sexual abuse, it’s likely some elders stay quiet about the issue. Abusers who are in a position of power (such as a nursing home staffer or administrator) may threaten their victims not to tell anyone about what is happening. With patients reliant on caregivers for food, medication, and general assistance, the fear of being neglected may lead them to stay quiet.
It can also be embarrassing for someone to admit someone took advantage of them. Especially if a nursing home patient feels their mental abilities are in question, they may stay quiet to prevent people around them from leaping to judgments. However, this can leave the individual with no recourse, and, in a worst-case scenario, no money to pay for the care they need.
We Can Help with a Financial Abuse Lawsuit
Theft and fraud are crimes, but bringing a criminal suit is not enough to get justice if your loved one has been financially exploited. We can help you file a civil lawsuit that is focused not on punitive measures but on recovering the assets your loved one lost. Along with naming the individual or individuals who were taking advantage of them, we can hold the nursing facility as a whole accountable for negligent practices. Our lawyers at Peterson & Associates, P.C. take every step possible to help clients recover compensation if they have been wronged.
Financial matters can be difficult to investigate, especially if the thief took steps to conceal their tracks or identity. Our lawyers know how to look into these matters. We have connections with financial experts who can provide additional context and, if necessary, testify on your loved one’s behalf. If you believe someone is taking advantage, do not wait to reach out to our team. We can get started on your case now.