Thefts from Nursing Home Resident Financial Accounts

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Financial exploitation of the elderly is a significant and growing problem and one that will surely increase as more and more Baby Boomers age.  Typically, we see two main types of cases where such exploitation occurs-the first involves strangers taking advantage of older people through home improvement fraud or the grandchild- in- need- of- money scam where criminals claim to be the victim’s grandchild (who happens to be in Mexico or Canada) and needs money for legal representation.  The second type, unfortunately, involves financial exploitation of an elderly person by a family member.

Yet a third significant area of financial exploitation, and one that does not receive much attention in the news is the outright theft of nursing home residents’ funds that are maintained in a resident trust account and administered by the nursing home.  While long term care facilities are required to maintain financial accounts for residents who wish to have their money held in this fashion, there is often little, if any, oversight regarding these types of accounts.  Employee theft from resident trust accounts has resulted in numerous cases where state or federal investigators have cited nursing homes for mismanagement of resident trust funds.  Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been stolen from resident care funds.

For those of you who have loved ones in long-term care facilities and who maintain their money in resident trust accounts, the best advice is, of course, to carefully monitor the disbursements from those accounts.  If you have concerns, address those with the facility’s administrator.  If your concerns are not adequately addressed, call your local law enforcement.  I also suggest that you consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in nursing home litigation.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have regarding this issue.

For an excellent article explaining the scope and breadth of this issue, please see

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/16/nursing-home-trust-fund-thefts/2967925/