Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Monroe County jury verdict for damages including punitives for 98 yr old financial exploitation victim

Three cheers for attorney John Bryan for winning a civil jury verdict for $325,000 in damages including $175,000 in punitives for fraud, conversion, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty by Betty B. Brown, a former bank executive.
The victim, 98 year old Isadora Beavers, had given power of attorney to Brown, a trusted financial professional, who then abused it and deeded Beavers' real estate to herself among other breaches of her fiduciary duty.
What is remarkable about this case is that it got pursued to verdict, not that the abuse occurred. Sadly older West Virginians are exploited financially by people in positions of trust frequently. And it can be very difficult for the victim to get her money and property back. Often the trusted perpetrator is a beloved family member, a friend from church, a helpful neighbor, or as in this case a professional who is presumed by all including the victim to be trustworthy. It may take a long time for the victim to even recognize she has been exploited by a clever perpetrator. The victim may not be believed when she tries to get help. The case may be complicated to pursue. The assets may already by gone. The victim may be dependent for various kinds of help or companionship from the perpetrator. Like domestic violence, the exploitation is likely to have been a gradual incremental kind of abuse that started almost unnoticeably small.
Financial exploitation is both a crime and a violation of civil law. Often it takes multiple entities working together to make the abuse stop, get justice, get remedy, and hlep the senior get back her independence. These can include civil legal services, law enforcement and proscutor, adult protective services, community senior services, homecare and other disability services, benefits providers, bank personnel, Postal inspectors, Medicaid fraud investgators, healthcare providers, long-term care ombudsmen, and others. Did I leave you out?
For more information about this case please see this article from the Beckley Register Herald http://www.register-herald.com/news/former-bank-exec-is-liable-in-elder-abuse-suit/article_3e3ca648-16fd-5699-b17f-087b400697aa.html?mode=jqm

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