What to do if the Personal Spending acct at the nursing home has unauthorized charges found after mom passed upon closing acct?

Asked over 1 year ago - Tampa, FL

Personal spending acct is showing ( 3 ) check advances - paid to petty cash in a matter of 6 weeks for $ 1700. Along with other unauthorized charges for tobacco, clothes, etc. I was Power of Attorney and never authorized them . The director told me they would look into it, they opened a case with the police and now the director has been fired. I have not received any phone calls and when I call them, the acctg contact that was in the office the day this was discovered keeps saying I dont know anything. I have asked for upper mgmt contact info and have not rec'd it. I have threatened the acctg contact that I am going to get a lawyer and take this to the news problem hotlines. Now what?? This is unbelievable. Thank you

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jonathan Edgar Pollard

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . First, I'm sorry to hear about your mother passing away. Second, this really makes me sick.

    There's a good chance that the nursing home was looting your mother's account. Unfortunately, the dollar amount at issue might make it tough to pursue legal action. If they stole $2,000 that's terrible, but litigation might not be worth it. If they stole $20,000, then you might be in different territory.

    Another issue is arbitration. Many nursing homes use arbitration clauses in their contracts. As a result, you cannot take them to court. Instead, you would have to take them to arbitration, which is far more expensive.

    Bottom line: Some nursing homes (the bad, unethical ones) operate this way on purpose. They'll rip a bunch of people off for a relatively modest dollar amount, then stand behind an arbitration clause, betting that nobody will spend the time and money pursuing arbitration.

    Try to get an idea of what the total loss was. If your mom was at the facility for several years, you could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars. Then have an attorney review the nursing home contract / patient agreement. If it requires arbitration, that is an obstacle. But if the dollar amount at issue is big enough, then arbitration may be worth the investment. If that is the case, and you need attorney in Tampa to arbitrate this, feel free to contact me and I can refer you to someone who an help you.

    Alternatively, if the dollar amount is small and pursuing legal action does not make financial sense, then notify the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the State Attorney General's Office.

    Good luck.

    Jonathan Pollard

    My response to this question is a response to a hypothetical situation based on limited facts. I am not your... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Retain a local nursing home abuse lawyer to investigate.

  3. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I suggest that you speak with the owner of the nursing home. You also should follow up with the police to see if they need anything additional in order to prosecute this. It is unlikely that you will find an attorney to undertake this case, which involves less than $2000 in losses. Going to the newspapers may also be a way of exerting pressure on the facility to make good on the withdrawn monies. The executor for the estate could also possibly sued in Small Claims Court for the return of the funds.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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