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Elder care admin accused of fraudulently using powers of atty

Senior citizens in Massachusetts often need assistance with their care as they age. Some of them live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities to ensure that their needs are met, particularly when their families don't live nearby or are unable to provide care themselves. While most of these places treat patients with the highest level of care, there are others that fail to do so. This is what one assisted living facility administrator is accused of doing, after authorities charged her with fraud and other crimes related to her claim to have powers of attorney for a resident.

Authorities say the woman used her position as a unit coordinator to acquire power of attorney over an alleged victim. They report that afterwards, she established the victim as a resident of her assisted living facility and then used the victim's assets without permission. Officials say the woman used the money to buy herself several homes, cars and cover her basic living expenses. They also claim that she filed a false tax return on behalf of the victim and embezzled Social Security benefits.

Prosecutors say that this type of financial elder abuse is all too common, but they hope that seizing the woman's assets will help the victim recoup some losses. If the woman in this case is found guilty, she may face significant jail time or fines. She is facing charges of wire fraud, money laundering, filing a false tax return and theft of government property.

It is imperative that older people are protected as they age, since their cognitive and physical abilities can decline and make them vulnerable. One way to do that is for families to establish a plan for long term care, that can include health care directives and provisions for powers of attorney. For those here in Massachusetts with questions, an experienced estate planning attorney can be a valuable guide.

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