Modern medicine and an awareness of the public to important steps of living out a healthy lifestyle have helped life expectancy rates rise. As more and more people live well into old age, family members get a chance to enjoy their elderly relatives for a longer period of time. However, as these elderly citizens age, their ability to care for themselves, their mental capacity, and their sound decision making skills deteriorate. This makes them vulnerable to being taken advantage of by virtually anyone, from family members, to nursing home workers and even in some cases, public service officers.
Pinole Elder Abuse by Police Officer
When the phrase “elder abuse” is heard, most people think of physical abuse committed on an elderly individual. However, elder abuse does not only pertain to physical abuse. Often, elder abuse refers to when someone takes advantage of an elderly citizen for financial gain. This exploitation includes “illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets“. This is what happened to an 82 year-old woman, Jean Phyllis Jones by former Pinole police commander and his wife, Matthew Messier and Elizabeth Regalado. Messier was a neighbor of Jones’s who beginning in January of 2012, began taking control of Jones’s financial assets. Messier drafted documents that gave him control of Jones’s estate and placed himself as the sole beneficiary if and when Jones passed. Ms. Jones was noted to have diminished mental capacity and an inability to make financial decisions. She was unable to identify the legal documents concerning this matter and could not even recall Messier’s name.
Pleasanton police were alerted to the possible case of abuse and after months of investigation, have now charged both Matthew Messier and Elizabeth Regalado with defrauding the 82 year old. Messier had used his position as an officer of the law to gain Ms. Jones’s trust, eventually taking control of bank accounts, cars, and safety deposit boxes amounting to the sum of $750,000.
In this particular case, the type of elder abuse ranged from grand theft to the practicing of law without a license as Messier drafted the legal documents himself that gave him control of Jones’s estate. Fortunately, the Alameda County Adult Protective Services agency became aware of the situation and was able to alert police to investigate the matter. If you believe someone is sustaining elder abuse, here are some signs to look for:
• Physical o Bruises,
o pressure marks,
o broken bones,
o Withdrawal from normal activities o Unusual depressed • Financial o Sudden changes in financial situation o Unauthorized use of property or assets
Please note that this list is not a comprehensive or guaranteed list of abuse. For a more comprehensive list, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse.
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As individuals age, they are less and less able to care for themselves physically, emotionally or mentally. Their vulnerability should not mean abuse should occur. If you suspect a loved one is being taken advantage of financially or abused physically or emotionally, our lawyers at the Brod Law Firm want to help. Please call for a no-obligation consultation today. We can help your family receive compensation and justice for any abuse that has taken place.