Montana Woman Charged for Financial Elder Abuse

Montana Resident Charged with Financial Elder Abuse and Theft

financial elder abuseA woman residing in Havre, Montana, has been charged with financial elder abuse after she stole $50,000 worth of cash and property from an elderly Hi-Line man.

Court documents for the financial elder abuse charges show that Lisa L. Cole, the defendant, was the victim’s power of attorney, which means she had legal control over the man’s finances. She was charged with one count of elder abuse, and one count of theft.

Reportedly, the victim went to the Hill County Sheriff’s Office on October 3rd, and reported the financial elder abuse, which he said occurred on October 1st. On that day, the victim said Cole withdrew $18,000 from the victim’s bank account without permission. The bank had a withdrawal slip that backed up the victim’s claim.

When questioned about the transaction, the bank stated that Cole was able to provide power of attorney paperwork, which legally allowed her access to the victim’s bank account. Cole also said that the victim suffered dementia and had been in a car accident, and the large withdrawal was intended to protect him from overspending his retirement funds. Cole said she would, over time, put small amounts of money back into the account so that the victim could pay monthly and medical expenses.

Authorities then spoke with Adult Protective Services, and the agency found that the victim had not been in a car accident and was of sound mind. APS added that their investigation revealed that the victim had given Cole $6,400 to purchase a motorhome. The victim said that Cole never repaid the loan, but put the motorhome in her name, and then she insisted that he move out of his home. While he was moving, the victim said he noticed some items missing, including a band saw, bench grinder, and drill press, along with $2,500 that he kept in a safe in his car.

If convicted on the financial elder abuse charges, Cole faces up to 10 years in prison, and must repay the $50,000 in cash and property that she stole from the victim.

Financial Elder Abuse and Exploitation Explained

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.

In Elderly Financial Abuse, aging adults are taken advantage of by caregivers (related or unrelated). This can occur by home health care workers or at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Many states define exploitation as the wrongful use of an older person’s resources for another person’s profit or advantage. State laws use various terms to denote the wrongful nature of the act, such as “illegal,” “improper,” “unjust,” and “without legal entitlement.” Some definitions refer simply to the misuse of the person’s funds, property or person. Some states specify that, to qualify as exploitation, the resources must have been obtained without the older person’s consent, or obtained through undue influence, duress, deception or false pretenses.

Financial 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.

Financial exploitation might not endanger an older person’s health or safety, but it results in the loss of the person’s estate and self-esteem.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Senior Citizens against Financial Elder Abuse

If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse or exploitation by your care facility, nursing home, caregiver, or a relative, 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

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