Fort Myers, FL:
An elderly woman who earned just $1,800 in monthly income between her Social Security check and her pension was somehow persuaded to take out a life insurance policy worth $7.5 million. According to her son’s financial elder abuse attorney, the woman was saddled with a trust and allegedly persuaded to take out a loan valued at $1.1 million in order to satisfy premiums of $742,000. The woman’s son, who carries on with a Financial Elder Abuse lawsuit on behalf of his now-deceased mother, notes that such alleged deception of vulnerable individuals should serve as a rallying cry for advocates concerned about financial exploitation of seniors.
I was beside myself,” said her 55-year-old son Michael Sterling, in comments published in The News-Press of Fort Myers (9/8/13). “After I read through that policy, it was like, here’s the one guy that she and her late husband had entrusted…and then [her financial adviser] could do this to them?”
The alleged elder abuse financial issue has its roots in 2006, when Gloria J. Emmert was 79 years of age and living modestly in a manufactured home located in North Fort Myers, Florida. The widow suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Elder financial abuse is not just a problem in Florida, which is a haven for snowbirds and retirees. It happens right across the country, prompting inclusion, in 2010, of the Elder Care Justice Act as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed into state law Assembly Bill (AB) 381 – legislation that allows courts of law to award attorney’s fees and costs to seniors victimized by powers of attorney acting in bad faith and apart from the best interests of the senior entrusted to them.
This point was driven home by a recent case in California that saw a former Alameda County Superior Court judge plead no contest to relieving a 97-year-old neighbor of her life savings while serving as her power of attorney. According to The San Francisco Chronicle (8/2/13), Paul Seeman befriended Anne Nutting and her late husband (who died in 1999), obtaining powers of attorney for the couple. Seeman, according to charges filed in California last year, gained control of Nutting’s finances and barred her from her home from 1999 – the year her husband died – through 2007. Forcing her to take a room in a hotel for those eight years, Seeman is said to have sold off her art collection.
According to The Chronicle, Seeman stepped down from the bench in March and is barred from seeking judicial office in the state. He has also been disbarred from practicing law in the state of California and pled no contest to the charges. In a plea deal, Seeman will avoid jail time and is expected to face five years of probation when his sentencing takes place October 22. Anne Nutting passed away in 2010.
In Florida, Michael Sterling is carrying the legal torch for his late mother. According to his elderly financial abuse lawsuit, the $7.5 million life insurance policy was based on an application using fraudulent information pertaining to Emmert’s finances. Premiums on the policy were $742,000. In order to fund the premiums, a loan amortized over 30 months was arranged at an interest rate of 17.95 percent. With interest factored in, total cost of the loan ballooned to $1.1 million which, according to the lawsuit, “far exceeded the entirety” of Emmert’s assets.
Full Article and Source:
Swindled Seniors: Former California Judge to Be Sentenced, Florida Lawsuit Continues