Courts and Assisting Financial Elder Abuse


The court hears a case of an elderly man who obtains a loan from a Lender secured by his real property.  After he deposits the loan proceed with the Lender, the elderly man falls victim to various scams, losses his money and dies.  The Lender also forecloses on his real property.  The elderly man’s daughter files a lawsuit against the Lender, claiming that the loan was predatory and constituted financial elder abuse under the Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 15600 et. seq.  The lawsuit also alleges that the Lender assisted the scams by giving the elderly man blank wire transfer forms which he used to wire money to foreign accounts where the monies were lost.  The trial judge dismisses the lawsuit because the complaint did not allege any facts constituting financial Elder Abuse by the Lender.

In this case, the court defined that financial Elder Abuse occurs when one either takes, secretes or appropriates real property of an elder for a wrongful use, or assists in taking, secreting or appropriating real property of an elder for a wrongful use.  The court reasoned that the Lender did not persuade the Elder to borrow money at unfair or disadvantageous terms.  The court also reasoned the Lender was not liable for assisting the financial abuse because it did not know of the other third parties’ wrongful conduct.