Former Judge Sentenced for Years of Financial Elder Abuse

shutterstock_113718073Former California Judge Receives Light Sentence for Financial Elder Abuse

In a plea deal on Thursday, August 1, a former Alameda County Superior Court judge, who was charged with 32 felonies for stealing the life savings of his elderly neighbor, managed to avoid prison time for his financial elder abuse.

Paul Seeman, 58, faced financial elder abuse charges, including 12 each counts of perjury and offering a false or forged instrument, three counts each of elder theft and grand theft and two counts of unauthorized disclosure of information. Only the two counts of unauthorized disclosure of information were misdemeanors – the other charges were felonies.

Despite the potentially lengthy sentence for his serious financial elder abuse, Seeman came away with repaying $300,000 to his victim’s estate, and five years’ probation. He is also barred from practicing law or working as a judge in the state of California, and he may not possess any “financial instruments” in any name other than his own.

The plea deal also prevents Seeman from living with, caring for, or acting as financial aide to any elderly people.

“Paul Seeman is not a free man; he is under the authority of the Probation Department for the next several years,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. “Seeman has paid for his breach of trust as a judicial officer; and, he has paid for his financial abuse of the elderly victim who has since passed away. He will never serve in a position of trust or authority again, as a result of these convictions.”

Systematic Financial Elder Abuse Began More Than a Decade Ago

Seeman allegedly began the process of financial elder abuse against his neighbor, Anne Nutting, after her husband Lee Nutting fell and injured himself in their home in 1999. When the fire department arrived, they declared the house uninhabitable because the Nuttings were hoarders. The couple was forced to leave their home.

At that time, Seeman offered to help them with their financial problems. At the time, he worked as a juvenile attorney and lived across the street from the elderly couple. Less than a month after his initial offer to help, Seeman won “durable power of attorney,” which meant he had full control over the Nuttings’ financial assets. He claimed he found more than $1 million worth of stock certificates and dividend checks in their house.

Lee Nutting died a year later, at which time Seeman is accused of beginning his systematic campaign of financial elder abuse against Anne Nutting. Mrs. Nutting eventually remarried and contacted an attorney for help with her financials. Although she died at age 97 in 2010, her husband Ali Mehrizi survives her and cares for her estate.

Seeman has already paid $299,436 of the restitution, and he will pay the remaining $5,649 before he is sentenced on October 22nd.

The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Financial Elder Abuse

In addition to neglect and abuse, South Carolina’s Office of Aging recognizes a third risk that aging adults are exposed to: exploitation. The two most prevalent forms of elderly exploitation is financial abuse and medical fraud.

Financial elder abuse and exploitation includes:

  • theft and credit card fraud,
  • stealing identity,
  • using real estate for personal means, and
  • conning nursing home residents into purchasing a fraudulent service or product.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse, by a caregiver, relative, your nursing home, or patient care facility, contact us today. Come in for a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers to discuss your situation and hear how we can help. 803.252.4800