An employee of a charity that helps disabled people was recently accused of embezzlement. Among the charges he now faces are 35 counts of elder theft. What does it mean to perpetrate elder theft?
California Penal Code 368 covers different types of abuse against adults who are classified as dependents or as elderly (at least 65 years old). This includes financial abuse.
Financial elder abuse involves theft and embezzlement of various kinds. Stealing an elderly person's money or possessions falls under this statute, along with failing to provide them with items such as medicine and food that it's your responsibility to buy. It also involves mismanaging their finances and any assets belonging to them.
In the case of the charity worker, he allegedly took checks entrusted to him by clients and deposited them in his own bank accounts. The amount of money involved is approximately $400,000.
If the amount stolen is greater than $950, prosecutors can charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony; what they choose will largely depend on the scope and sophistication of the crime, and whether or not you have a criminal history. There are also other crimes closely related to financial elder abuse, including grand theft and embezzlement (taking money that someone has entrusted to you for a certain purpose, and misusing it).
An embezzlement case may involve mounds of evidence; for the case discussed here, there are reportedly 20,000 pages of evidence to sift through. When you review your case with an attorney, he or she will have to go through all of this evidence with a fine tooth comb, following the path of the money and checking for inconsistencies.
In some cases, it's possible that the misuse of money was an innocent mistake based on a misunderstanding or on information that was supplied incorrectly or dishonestly to you. In other cases, the individual(s) actually responsible for the act could be misidentified; there may even be a false accusation against an innocent person.
The California legal system takes crimes against elderly people seriously, and you may be facing harsh penalties for financial abuse and related charges.
If you have been arrested for theft, embezzlement or financial elder abuse in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Corona or Riverside, be sure to contact us for a free consultation. We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and we're familiar with the local courts.We can help!