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Court-Appointed Guardians Steal to Pay for Exotic Dancers and SUVs

CNN reported that a recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office found allegations of elderly abuse by legal guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Guardians were allegedly appointed without proper screening and began stealing assets while courts failed to monitor their activities, according to the report.

In one case mentioned in the report, a taxi driver and convicted bank robber was appointed legal guardian of a wealthy customer with Alzheimer’s Disease who had no family. The guardian promptly stole $640,000 from the elderly man to pay for a new Hummer and exotic dancers. In another case mentioned in the report, an 80-year-old woman’s niece was appointed legal guardian despite protest from the elderly women’s attorney, who said the two were not close. The niece responded by allegedly misappropriating $150,000 from her aunt’s estate.

Read the full story: Elderly abuse by court-appointed guardians
These cases illustrate the abuse that can result from those who are placed in a position of trust and responsibility. Claims on behalf of the elderly, which can arise from abuse as discussed above or from neglect in nursing homes, must be brought to light in order to ensure that would-be abusers do not think that they can take advantage of a largely ignored group.

The cases referenced above cover matters ranging from assault to breach of fiduciary obligations, however fortunately for the adults involved, assuming the activities are caught early enough, there are generally civil remedies available. It is crucial that if a friend of family member suspects that an elderly person is being abused or otherwise taken advantage of they immediately contact an attorney. The most unfortunate cases are the ones that never get reported.

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