Monday, March 12, 2018

April 15-30, 2015: What not to do as an elderly person's POA

Okay quick recap. My sister in law, Sonya became the POA for my mother in law, Carol, who was 71 at the time and in an assisted living facility. Sonya believed she could care for her mother better than the professionals and got control of her mother's bank account, with disastrous results. Sonya being a person with little self control, poor financial habits, and what looks to me like a serious Wal-Mart addiction or at least a shopping addiction, gutted her mother's retirement fund, leaving the old woman broke and in an elderly rooming house. The son and brother of the women, Mike, my husband was forced to become the conservator, discovered it was near impossible to care for his mother 3000 miles away and moved her to the DC area, where she died. This blog is to document and show how Sonya ruined her mother one shopping trip at a time.

Okay, April 15th has six transactions. The insurance premiums the the only obvious one for Carol. Yes there is a Safeway expense for $102.35, but there was a Safeway expense the day before, on the 14th, mentioned in another post.  A few days later on the 18th there is another transaction for Safeway. Sonya is buying a lot of food for what really should be for one person. Carol's money should be used for Carol, not to feed her grandkids.

There is a transaction for every day except the 19th, apparently Sonya let the debit card cool off that day before she put it to work again. The 20th she's buying beauty supplies for work at Cosmoprof. Once again, this is money that should have been used for Carol, not Sonya's business.Thankfully Carol's medicare premiums got paid (see CMS Medicare).
On the 22nd there is another transaction from Safeway for $218.83. I seriously doubt that was all for Carol. And there is a T-Mobile payment, the second in the month of April. To her son's knowledge, Carol did not have a cell phone. This might be evidence of Sonya paying to keep up her son. So the only thing that appears to be clearly for Carol is the $15 spent on the 21st at Kaiser.
In the first April blog post I complained about supposedly Sonya's Wal-Mart shopping addition. Well it looks like she decide to go a tad upscale to Nordstrom. "No cheap clothes for us kids! I got your grandma's money and we're going uptown!" I could imagine her saying as there are three transactions for Norstrom on the 24th.

There is one deposit, for $300 on the 30th, I will assume that's Sonya chipping in . All in total there where 5 deposits for April 2015. In an earlier blog post, three of those are from Carol's resources totaling $39,451.76, compared to Sonya's $700, a little less than 2% of what was deposited. That little 1.74% she added to her mother's account lent a scant 'truth' to the lie she told her brother that she was adding her money to her mother's upkeep.


Aril 8-14, 2015- What not to do as an elderly person's POA

Okay quick recap. My sister in law, Sonya became the POA for my mother in law, Carol, who was 71 at the time and in an assisted living facility. Sonya believed she could care for her mother better than the professionals and got control of her mother's bank account, with disastrous results. Sonya being a person with little self control, poor financial habits, and what looks to me like a serious Wal-Mart addiction or at least a shopping addiction, gutted her mother's retirement fund, leaving the old woman broke and in an elderly rooming house. The son and brother of the women, Mike, my husband was forced to become the conservator, discovered it was near impossible to care for his mother 3000 miles away and moved her to the DC area, where she died. This blog is to document and show how Sonya ruined her mother one shopping trip at a time.
As the POA you have a fiduciary responsibility not to blow the elderly person's money on yourself, which Sonya did. So let's pick up where I left off last time and look at the spending for April 8-14, 2015.

Alright then. April 8th there is only one purchase and that is from ARCO Paypoint, which seems to be a gas station. Carol, who has mobility issues, did not have a car nor did she drive. Next day April 9th, someone hits the 7-11. The Seven-Eleven is a constant theme in these statements. On the 10th there are three transactions, Target, Cosoprof and the Dish Network. Okay maybe Carol wants TV, and yes there is a pharmacy at Target, but she's supposed to be getting her meds from Kaiser. Cosmoprof is a beauty supply business. Sonya is a beautician, so I have a feeling that $37.16 wasn't for Carol. Next day on the 11th, a trip to a taco restaurant, El Grullense. On the 12th, the 7-11 appears again, along with Hacienda Grdn, or Hacienda Gardens which is some sort of shopping center and Walgreens. Carol was on a lot of medications, but it is not clear, because other purchases are mixed in, that things strictly for Carol. The 13th there is a deposit from Carol's brokerage account. It is much less than what it used to be since Sonya had the $30K-ish taken out earlier that month to cover the 6 months rent and deposit. On the 14th someone spends $108.54 at Safeway. See below for the $120.00 for T-Mobile. Carol had Parkinson's and could not really handle a cell phone, that price point looks like a smart phone plan, she couldn't handle a smart phone either. Lastly, McDonald's.

I should remind the reader that Sonya picked out a 3 bedroom house to rent (using her mother's money) to house her elementary aged daughter and her teenage son. Teenage boys eat, a lot. I suspect that Sonya was using Carol's money to support (house and feed) her kids and in some 2016 statements (when Carol and Sonya were no longer living together) there were some Uber rides which Sonya said were for Mike1.

Once again, getting the POA is a responsibility. You should not use other's money for yourself or your family's upkeep. This is an example of how not to do it.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

April 2015- What not to do as an elderly person's POA

So in March 2015 Sonya got POA with the plan to rent a house and care for her mother Carol, and her own kids N Kim and her 15 year old son Mike1, and start up a hair salon business. The house was more what Sonya wanted and less what Carol, as a 70 something woman with mobility issues, needed. The spending also reflected this Sonya-centric worldview where the account goes from basic needs to spending every day (except for the 19th) when you compare the April 2015 statement to the November or December 2014 statements.

This is NOT how to use the Power of Attorney (POA), a power given with the purpose of caring for a person who cannot care for themselves. You as the POA are supposed to do your everyday spending from your own accounts, not the accounts you were given access to. If you have a relative who was given POA and is co-mingling accounts, that should be a glowing RED ELDER ABUSE FLAG! But if your family dynamics are like like my spouse's the dominate family member will probably continue to abuse the elderly parent until the weaker family member if forced to step in.

I suspect Sonya is certifiably unbankable and a financial screw up. I have a feeling that Sonya's credit was so busted she did not have her own account and used her mother's bank account. When you've done enough bad bank things, banks decide not to open accounts for you. She has claimed she had her own bank account, but I doubt it. Her brother Mike, my beloved spouse, is also inept with finances, which is why I do them for us. He did not have a savings account until we were engaged. He was and is better off than his sister, in that he's worked in the same job for 20 years, wasn't a single parent, was on good terms with almost all of his exes, and has an amazing support network with healthy relationships. I didn't have any authority when Mike took over his mother's accounts but I did advise him and the activity level went back to it's 2014 levels and clearly is for Carol's care.

Okay with that let's start looking at the April 2015 account:

There are three deposits on April 1 from Carol's pension and the brokerage account that had been providing her an income around $700 a month. That deposit from Pershing is the first big hit to Carol's retirement fund, and that's a big $36K. The third deposit could have come from Sonya, however, $400 is nothing compared to the $38,859.77 that came from the retiree. There are 5 withdrawals, three from Target. Not sure that those are for Carol or Sonya. Two are for two cashier's checks to NorCal Property Management. The $22850 is for 6 months rent. I can't remember exactly, but I suppose, this goes back to someone having really bad credit and the management company not wanting risk too much. Most normal people just put down a deposit of first and last months' rent, that's the $7,707 check.

I'm going to break here to point out that Carol was financially bearing the burden of renting a three bedroom house with a yard, when she previously was in a single room at the assisted living facility.  I should also mention Carol was paying somewhere around $7000-$9000 a month for her care, so in theory she shouldn't have had to have more than $9000 leave her account per month. Sonya was not paying for half the rent, which was $3800 a month. No this scheme allowed her to move out of her dreary 1 bedroom apartment to a place where she could pretend she was middle class.

Okay back to the spenda-palooza with other people's money. It seems that she returned to Target on the 2nd to spend more money and hit the Walmart twice. On the 3rd day Sonya went to Mattara Inc at 4652 Meridia San Jose Ca. There is a car-wash and gas station at that address. Carol does not drive. This is clearly a Sonya purchase, that should not have shown up on Carol's account. This is one of thousands of financial abuses Sonya inflicted on her mother.

Oh, but wait there is more, so, so much more. The statements for Carol's account go from 2 pages to multiple pages, with daily spending as if Sonya's job was to spend down her mother's retirement and put the woman in poverty, which she did. So besides going to get gas or wash the car on the 3rd, she hit a liquor store, the Walmart again, and Again, and AGAIN, the Kohls (got tired of Target?), and Tomatina an Italian restaurant. Maybe Carol went there, who knows. Since Carol was a Kaiser P member that got paid on the 3rd as well, the only clearly for Carol expense on the 3rd. With Carol's medical condition she really shouldn't be getting anything from the liquor store, but who am I to deny a woman some wine, I just doubt it was for her.

I'm going to go for another paragraph to cover the 4th. Well we see Sonya gets a U-haul because Carol did not have enough stuff in her room to fill more than an SUV, that was $118.64. Sonya, because this WalMart addiction cannot be Carol's, hits Wally World twice, again. This looks like a serious shopping addition only a few days into April and a couple weeks into Sonya's POA. Well in addition to WalMart and Target (hey we're back to Tar-jay) Sonya decides to eat out a couple of times at Micky D's and the Burger Barn. I have my doubts any of this was for Carol. Not sure where Orchard Supply, a hardware store fits into this.

On the 5th day, more shopping! This time it's Wally World supersized, the Wal-Mart Supercenter. No clue what Hamilton-Basc in Campbell happens to be for $203. There is a Capital Premier Car Wash that I didn't include (sorry) but once again, that looks like a Sonya purchase, NOT a Carol purchase.

Alrighty, I need to come to a close and I haven't got past one week of Sonya's non-stop, can't stop spending of her mother's retirement money.

Okay, April 6th there is the Safeway, maybe that food was for Carol, Wal-Mart (AGAIN, seriously this looks like signs of a shopping addiction), and a bunch of fast food places (Taco Bell, Domino's, Jack in the Box and Tacomania). We do see an insurance premium for United Healthcare, a possible leftover from Carol's recently late husband Gene. 

April 7th, another day, another shopping trip to Wal-Mart with multiple purchases! It seems Sonya (not Carol, because Carol's stuff could fit in a SUV) returned the U-Haul. Sonya got some gas, because Carol, does not have a car and does not drive.

I'll return to April 2015 in another post, cause this is really long. But you should get the point, it looks (obvious to me) like Sonya started using her mother like an ATM and fed some unnatural shopping addiction (I suspect there are other addictions this feeds too) that supported the Wal-Mart corporation. This is so not what you're supposed to do when you have someone's POA. This is wrong. This is elder abuse, financial elder abuse.

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 2015- Let's start spending part 2

Picking up from the previous post, this takes on the last parts of the March 2015 bank statement documenting Sonya's, the daughter's start of financial abuse towards her mother Carol.

There are excuses that could explain this spending. They need food. However, in late March, Carol the mother was still living in the assisted living place, where they provide meals. Also the house Sonya wanted to rent had not been secured, so there is no place where the food from Safeway to go..... except maybe Sonya's fridge. But it is conceivable that she was buying food in preparation for April. Maybe. Then there is the April 1st (April Fool's) Old Navy purchase of $69.60. When we cleaned out Carol's closet upon her death this year in 2018, I did not see any Old Navy clothes. It is possible those clothes were left at the rented house when she escaped her abuser in December 2015 or left in San Jose when Mike, the son, moved her to the DC area.

There are plenty of checks. As I mentioned in a previous post, it costs about a quarter each to get a copy from the bank for each check. To figure out if these checks included legitimate spending we would need to spend $3.50 just for the month of March. That's not a lot but Sonya had access to her mother's accounts for over a year. Some of the checks where we did get copies were obviously not signed by Carol. Carol you see has Parkinson's. Some signatures attributed to Carol were signed by her daughter or someone else who did not have Parkinson's But I'll explore that in a later post.

March 2015 shows a start of the whirlwind spending Carol's daughter engaged in that resulted in the destruction of Carol's retirement funds. I don't think Sonya began this with the intent of financially abusing her elderly mother. No one really wants to be an abuser. I can only guess at the mental state of someone who does this. Yes, I'll probably do a post where I guess at what the heck she was thinking.

March 2015- Let's statrt spending part 1

In March Sonya, the daughter, got POA (power of attorney) over Carol, the mother and made plans to remove her from the assisted living facility Carol was staying at in April. Mike, the brother who lived 3000 miles away in DC, and I (Mike's wife) were in San Jose visiting and we witnessed and signed as witnesses for all the paperwork that would later make Carol a victim of financial elder abuse. I believe that visit was in mid-March as we were there during Spring break, as Mike works for a university.

Sadly, Mike constantly beats himself up over this, even after we've reviewed our actions and concluded that there was little that could have been done to prevent it. Sonya lived in San Jose and Carol lived in San Jose. Gene, Carol's late husband, was recently dead and out of the picture. Mike was 3000 miles away most of the time and could not have prevented his sister from manipulating and strong arming their mother. Sonya was local, Mike was long distance, and local usually wins. When Sonya brought us along to see the house she wanted to rent with her mom, I thought the whole thing was a bad idea. But who am I? I'm just an in-law and very aware of my lack of influence in the matter. So the only one to listen to me was the 4 year old N Kim, who came along to view the place.

But I digress.

As I said it was around mid-March Sonya got POA. The withdrawals/purchases prior to March 23rd could be Carol's. There are insurance premiums that are similar to previous months when Gene was still alive. We are aware Carol had credit cards, so it is possible those payments are for her Discover card and AMEX card. However the $14.00 paid to the ST OF CA DMV, California DMV maybe is suspicious. Carol suffered a stroke and her other health problems made it so that she did not drive.

The post-Spring break charges, are questionable, but there are excuses one could make. When I confronted Sonya with evidence of a later charges to the account that there was no reason a woman of Carol's age and disability would be charged for, Sonya gave lame excuses. Another charge, a $10K child support charge in 2016, she admitted "that looked bad." No shyte Sherlock. So even if Sonya ever bothered to look at this blog, I can think of some lame excuses she'd make up to explain that March 26, 2015 charge of $1099.41 from an Apple Store. "Oh, I needed a phone, or mom (with her Parkinson's) needs a phone," is a possible excuse. Then there are the clothing charges from Ross and Burlington Coat Factory. "Mom needs clothes," I think was what she may have told her brother Mike. What's that March 30th withdrawal of $120.85 for, beats me. Probably a mystery.

In part 2, I'll conclude March 2015. Compared to the baseline statements from December 2014 and January 2015, March 2015 is just a tad bit more active. There are a few more store purchases. Late in March we see what happens when Sonya (who might be suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness) gets access to her mother's bank account and it seems start spending money on Sonya.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Oh yeah, we need to document this

Originally written 7/14/2016 and sat in draft form. I am publishing it in 2018.

One of many things I need to harass my beloved about is making a diary of sorts of his interactions with Adult Protective Services, the lawyers, Social Security, Medicare, the bank, Kaiser Permenente, maybe even the lady who runs the house where Mom is staying.

The reason being is we'd like to get refunded or at least get some credit for dipping into our own savings. The lawyer said we could get refunded for the retainer, so I agreed to pull out 25% of our emergency savings for his retainer. I would really like that money back. It takes a while to build those funds back up. Then there was paying for Mom's medicare....

This also goes back to someone at the bank saying they told us of X, when they did not.

Trust but verify

This was written as a draft back in 2016. I decided to publish in 2018.

"Trust but verify"
-- Russian Proverb

Earlier this year my husband was told by Adult Protective Services that the accounts were frozen to keep my sister in law from spending more of Mom's money.

Well that was a lie.

When we finally got bank statements, after requesting them, we saw, well I saw (because DH doesn't do finance) that sister in law (SIL) was spending money well up until the time DH took over the finances and had the money transferred to the conservator account. We were recently told those old accounts are still active. Those are the accounts the pension (she does not get social security) and what's left of the investment account direct deposits into. As far as we know SIL is back to spending Mom's money.

Nothing runs automatically or smoothly in the transition. We are told things that are not true (like the accounts are frozen) or told incomplete information that only when we verify or attempt to verify discover that there are more steps. Just because you write a check to Social Security for the Medicare that wasn't paid for, doesn't mean it is reinstated. Just because Kaiser said they are sending the medication via mail does not mean the medication will be sent. Just because the pension people said that the direct deposit will be changed in 2-3 weeks after you turn in the form, does not mean that the direct deposit will be changed. Just because the lawyer said you'd get conservatorship in about a week... you know.

It was frustrating for me because at the start of this I was trying to get him to get on-line access to the accounts so he could monitor them. Or more accurately, I could monitor them. But no. So in So at the bank said she opened the conservator account and checks will arrive. Another person at the bank sent a balance statement where only the last few numbers of the account were shown, and to my DH that was okay with him. Same thing with Kaiser and the pension, there is the possibility of tracking these things on line but he prefers the annoyance of having to contact various persons at various institutions to leave messages or wait for them to get back to him and play "mother may I" with various staff instead of directly controlling what can be directly controlled. I find it very frustrating.

My DH is in not trust mode. It is an ugly side of him. He is normally a very trusting, somewhat gullible guy at times, but quite cheerful. This process is turning him into a bitter, distrustful and slightly paranoid bastard, well when he thinks about caring for his mother.

So he has to contact the bank to request that all those accounts get closed. He has to track down where the pension money is and where did it go.

UPDATE- I shared part of this with DH and he made an effort to see what could and could not be accessed online. The pension is a no go, it is only for the pensioner, not conservators or those with POA. Kaiser is working on it and he'll have to go to the local office. DH is a good guy, but this is too much for him alone.