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Theft from incapacitated adults by their caregivers

There are adults across the country who are under the care of another due to a wide variety of health problems or old age. These caregivers are often in charge of helping their wards around their homes as well as helping to pay bills. However, as some Massachusetts residents may know, some of these caregivers take advantage of the incapacitated adults whom they are supposed to help.

One woman was charged with the care of a 91-year-old woman with a dementia-related illness, but instead of caring for her, the woman chose to steal from her employer. During the one month the woman was employed in 2017, the family noticed that several of the elderly woman's belongings began going missing. Sometime during October of that year, another family member called the authorities about the missing items. When the Sheriff's Office checked the caregiver's Facebook page, they saw several pictures of items that the woman intended to sell at an antique mall, which were identical to those that her elderly employer was missing.

Authorities arrested the woman two months later. In exchange for a plea deal, the woman pleaded guilty to felony charges of financial exploitation of a mentally incapacitated adult as well as possession with intent to sell stolen property. She was sentenced to two years in prison, both of which were suspended, as well as two years probation. 

The possibility of theft or elder abuse is a major concern for many Massachusetts residents. Consulting with an attorney about what options are available to incapacitated adults could be helpful to many families. An attorney may be able to help his or her clients to plan for a situation in which they might be unable to make decisions or care for themselves. This might include appointing a guardian or other individual to make important decisions in their place. 

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