It is an unfortunate truth that financial exploitation of elders and adults who are vulnerable because of a physical or mental condition is becoming more and more common. This is especially true in Arizona, where so many seniors choose to retire. In response to an increasing number of exploitation reports, Arizona has enacted one of the most stringent financial exploitation laws in the country.
In Arizona, illegal financial exploitation occurs when anyone who is in "a position of trust and confidence" improperly uses a vulnerable adult's money for his or her own benefit. If this has occurred, the victim, his or her court-appointed representative, or his or her estate, and sometimes even his or her family or loved ones, may bring a civil lawsuit for damages on his or her behalf. The Court can award double damages, reverse transactions, nullify improper changes to wills and trusts and even forfeit the inheritance that would otherwise expected by wrong-doer. John R. Fitzpatrick and his associates stay abreast of all recent pronouncements concerning these complex and frequently-changing laws.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
Because of the physical and emotional states of many vulnerable adults, and the fact that many exploiters are caretakers, the victim is often unable or afraid to report the exploitation. If you notice a loved one exhibiting signs of exploitation, contact Arizona's Adult Protective Services at their hotline number 1-877-SOS-ADULT (1-877-767-2385). Suspicious behavior can include:
- Seeming uncomfortable about a certain person accompanying them to the bank
- Giving confusing or unlikely explanations of what has happened to their money
- Expressing surprise or concern over missing funds
- Being unable to remember where money has gone or paperwork and documentation
- Making large or unusual gifts to caretakers
- Expressing fear that they will face negative consequences if money is not given to a caretaker
Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
If you believe a vulnerable adult, whether it is you or a loved one, has been a victim of financial exploitation and you are interested in seeking civil remedies, consult an experienced attorney with a thorough understanding of these complex statutes. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact John R. Fitzpatrick, Attorney at Law today or call us at 602-277-2010.