Adult daughter stole entire life savings

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jeanne in CA, May 26, 2014.

  1. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    I am new to this forum so please bear with me. I am stunned to see how many people have had problems with their adult children stealing from them. I do hope things are going better for you by now. Last year my husband and I discovered that our adult daughter had assumed our identities and stolen our entire life savings of over $300,000. She was able to produce fraudulent documents of bank statements and other letters and emails that were so realistic that even the banks themselves could not tell they were false. We confronted her with the evidence we had at the time and of course she said we were demented. We gave her a month to come forward but finally had to report the theft to the police. In addition to the money she stole, she left us with credit card debt of around $60,000 and $64,000 arrearages to our mortgage company. We were forced to file bankruptcy in order to save our home. It has been over a year since we have seen her and the police, while very diligent in their investigation, are taking a very long time. They say it is the biggest case they have had of this nature. This past year has been devastating needless to say. She is absolutely not addicted to drugs or alcohol since we were able to track most of the stolen money back to purchases like $1500.00 purses, $1000 dollar hair appointments and thousands of dollars in plane tickets. To make matters worse, she is married to a cop. She also has two young children that we are not able to see. We know that the worst is yet to come but feel we have no choice but to see this thing through. She and I were always very close and I still cannot believe I did not see what she was doing.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Jeanne. I am so sorry. I'm glad you found us, but of course, sorry you had to.

    I assume you've pressed charges, right? I guess I am a little confused, if it is clear that she is the one who stole your identity, why is she not in jail?

    You have been through a horrific experience, it has to be devastating on so many levels.

    What is going on with your daughter and the authorities has a life of its own. However, while you go through this I hope you are getting support, professional counseling , support groups, or whatever it is that will be the perfect fit for you. If you believe your daughter is mentally ill, perhaps NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, may be helpful, they have chapters everywhere and can be accessed online. They have excellent courses for parents.

    There are many feelings for us parents to deal with and get through, it becomes extremely important to get support for you and your husband so you can find a way to get to a place of balance within the chaos that is presently your lives. In your case, that is a tall order, for sure.

    I am very sorry Jeanne, your story is a sad one. You've come to the right place, we are a group of parents who have gone through hell with our kids and have sustained devastating blows. We are all in various degrees of learning how to detach from our adult kids. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here, it is interesting and informative.

    It helps to post our stories and find empathy and understanding. It helps to write our stories because it clarifies our thoughts and feelings and gives us a forum to be heard. I'm glad you're here. Keep posting it helps.
  3. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Wow! Thank you so much for the quick and warm reply. I simply do not have words to express what this year has been like. We definitely pressed charges. We felt we had not choice since she was not admitting to anything and we had definite proof of her theft. She is not in jail for the simple reason that the police are still investigating after an entire year. The ID theft affected 23 different accounts including all financial accounts, all credit card accounts, and most of our utlitity accounts. I had been having problems with accounts fro quite some time but could not get to the bottom of what was causing them. She had volunteered to "help" me figure these things out and I was so mentally and emotionally stressed out that I welcomed her assistance. I had been taking care of my elderly mother who eventually passed away in the middle of all this and I know now that while I was spending time 3000 miles away with my mom our daughter was raiding our accounts. She was one of these people who memorialized everything on Facebook so we have obtained a lot of proof through her own postings there. The police obtained over 8000 pages from her Facebook account alone. Thank you so much for your suggestions. I have read the detachment article and am glad to report that for some reason we have had no problem in that area. I think part of that is because what she did is so horrific that it would be difficult to try to rationalize being in close proximity to her now. I keep telling myself that this is who she is at this point in her life and we can only pray that someday she makes the necessary to be a good person. It has been very difficult, but we also felt that if we did not do everything possible to see her held accountable we would be at least partially responsible for any future vicims she would create. We are reconciled to the fact that she will no doubt go to jail but if that is what it takes, so be it. If that does not affect change, then that will be her decision. We have no reason to believe our son-in-law (the cop!) has had any part of this and we dread the day when the police contact them to either bring them both in for questioning or to arrest her. Thank you again so much for your kindness.
  4. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    I just wrote another reply but for some reason it did not post. If I end up with two replies, please forgive me. Thank you so much for your quick and kind reply. Like I said, this has been a terrible year. To answer your question, yes we definitely pressed charges. The reason she is not in jail is because the police are still investigating. There were 23 different accouns where the ID theft occurred, including all financial accounts, all credit accounts, and nearly all utility accounts.

    Thank you for your suggestions. I had read the article on detachment and have to admit we have had no problem in that area for the simple reason that she admits nothing even in the face of absolute proof. That makes it much easier than if she had admitted things and then lied about changing her ways. The reality is that what she has done is so horrible that we have no desire to see her. Much of the theft took place while I was 3000 miles away taking care of my terminally ill mother.

    I had been having problems for quite some time with several of our accounts and could not get to the bottom of things. She offered to "help" and I gladly accepted. That is when she started producing fraudulent documents showing me that the errors were on the part of the insitutions and that our money was exactly where it was supposed to be, in our accounts. Things just got worse and worse. I was so mentally and emotionally depleted that I actually told her and her dad that i thought the only was i would every escape all the problems was to die. We had no idea that she was creating all the problems all along. I do not feel she is mentally ill in the usual sense of the term. One psychiatrist I consulted with told me she was probably born this way. I know he was trying to reassure me that we had not somehow created this person as a result of our bad parenting. But, the reality is that if she was born this way, that is just as sad. That means she was never who we thought she was. I can't spend a lot of time thinking about that.

    We are very concerned about our son-in-law (the cop!) and our tiny grandchildren. It is hard to imagine if she is not a good daughter, how she could be a good mother. Thank you again for your support and your kindness.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    You would get a much better, bigger response (if you want one) by posting your own thread. This is an older thread.

    I'm sorry about what your daughter did. The betrayal must really hurt.

    Your daughter possibly has a personality disorder...antisocial, narcissistic or borderline. That is not mental illness in the usual sense as they are not necessarily unhappy with themselves and simply do not have the empathy others have and do what they want to please themselves. And they don't feel guilty...often they try to twist it so that they claim it is our faults, which is nonsense. The psychiatric community is starting to find biological components to these empathy deficits., You were not a bad parent. You probably gave more of yourself, since she seemed "different" than many parents do.

    Do not own any verbal abuse you get from your daughter.

    Didn't son-in-law notice his wife had a lot of money to throw around? I wonder what she told him.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jeanne, MWM is correct, if you cut and paste all your posts onto a new thread with your own title, you will receive more responses. If you feel you are going to stay with us and continue posting, you may want to place a signature at the bottom of your posts, as we have done, so we can remember who you are and respond accordingly.

    I am sorry about the loss of your mother in the midst of all of this. You have really been through the mill, what a horrific time you've had of it. And, lost the accessibility to your grandkids. You've sustained so many losses. As I mentioned in my previous post, I hope you are making sure you are getting support for you and your husband.

    Well, I'm relieved to hear that you aren't having trouble detaching from your daughter, you're right, what she's done is pretty horrible.

    MWM talked about personality disorders, a good point. Although is may not really matter since she is who she is, however, if you google any one of those and look for symptoms, you may see a profile of your daughter. I found my daughter to fit many of the narcissistic personality disorder traits. It didn't offer much solace, however it did make some things clearer.

    You are maintaining a clear head and approaching it with what sounds to me like the right attitude in that your daughter needs to be held accountable and what happens next to her is on her to make of it what she will.

    For me, although at times it's been a challenge to uphold, I make every attempt to look at these kinds of things as lessons in life that I am offered to learn something. With my daughter it made sense that although it was terrible and sad and filled with so many emotions that were difficult to face, I also realized that I had to learn the places in my life where I allowed people to treat me badly, where I enabled, where I did not demand respect and kindness. I learned about detaching because of her behavior, however, for me, a bigger lesson was acceptance, which translated to many other areas of my life and in fact, changed my life. I saw where I was controlling, I saw where I was judging and critical. It was a painful journey for sure, and yet it had meaning on many levels for me. It helped for me to understand that my suffering had some kind of meaning. I am not sure how your situation can offer you meaning, but perhaps you can see it. At least that perception of things makes sense to me and soothes the horrors of it.

    Books by Pema Chodron were very helpful for me to see a different perspective. She writes about living in uncertainty and chaos and defines the struggles we have in ways that offered me a certain solace. You may find her books helpful.

    Again, I'm glad you found us and I encourage you to continue posting. You've sustained some serious blows and our small community here can circle our wagons around you as you learn to heal from this and eventually, move on. Holding peaceful thoughts for you today........
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Jeanne, and welcome. I am so sorry for what you have been through with your daughter. I imagine you keep reliving the sucker punch many times over and wonder where it came from every single time.

    Who would have even thought of the things that our difficult children come up with to do?

    I am also sorry about your grandchildren and son-in-law.

    I also believe we can go on and become happy people in the face of horrors like this. It takes faith in something or someone greater than ourselves plus a lot of hard work.

    This site is one of my tools and I have others as well. I work them every single day, and I am finding that I am getting healthier and healthier. My 25-year-old son is in jail again (8 or 9 times, have lost count) all related to drug addiction. He had every advantage in life and has thrown them all away to this point. The horror has been at a high level for the past four years.

    Today I am a better person because I have worked on myself instead of focusing on him. I also am a much more grateful person today for all of the many gifts I have been given and continue to receive. Life is precious and I value it. I love my son very much and I pray for him constantly, but I can't be around him very much at all. It seems and sounds harsh, but I value my own life today as much as I value his and I have to work, function and enjoy my own life and healthy relationships so I work toward that.

    Maybe he will change one day and maybe he will not. I now am working on releasing any expectations and accepting what is right in front of me. That saying: When people show who you who they are, believe them.

    Until my son gets treatment and works a serious program of recovery, nothing will change. And it's all up to him. I'm done.

    Warm hugs for you today. We get it here. Please continue sharing with us if you would like.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    • List
  8. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Oh my gosh, where to I begin to thank you all for your kindness and insight? I want to respond to each of you but first want to find out how to start my own thread since I have no clue. I can do the cut an paste routine but forums are new to me so have no idea how to start the threat. Can you tell me how to do that and also how to post a signature at the bottom? I have lots more to share with you. Thank you again so much.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Go into the Parent Emeritus forum by clicking on it up at the top here on the left........ and once in the new window, look on the upper right hand corner where it says post new thread. Click on that and then paste your posts in there and write your own title. It will appear in the Parent Emeritus forum as a new thread.
  10. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Just did that but don't know if it went through. The thread is entitled "Adult daughter stole entire life savings". Sounds pretty pathetic but...I would like to reply individually on the new thread but not sure if I did it correctly. Thank you.
  11. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jeanne, I moved your posts over to your own thread.

    To put in a signature at the bottom of your post, go to the top right here on this post and click on your screen name, you will get a drop down box, click on signature, write it and SAVE it and it should appear at the bottom of your posts after that. If you have any problems let me know.
  13. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Thank you "recoveringenabler" for helping me get started with my new thread. I am not sure of the protocol involved so please let me know if I do something thaat is a bit awkward when replying to messages.

    In the meantime, for those of you who asked, our son-in-law did not question the money coming into their household because she had been telling all of us for years that she was working. She even pointed out her supervisor to me one time when we were out together. In addition, she said she had her own photography business that paid her very well. Once I discovered the identity theft, I also discovered she had not been working and the photography gig was only for about 6 weeks time. She claimed she finished her college degree once she got married and moved away but I found out she had never even attended the university where she claimed she got her degress. Every single discovery was another blow. I have spent the entire past 13 months digging for the truth and having to tell and retell my sordid and shameful story to one institution after another just to get them to give me our records.

    Experts have told me she sounds like she has a mental disorder, namely narcissistic personality disorder. I don't know mental disorders from the measles, but I do know she has acted with an absolute disregard for her dad and I and feels neither shame nor guilt. Her dad and I believe that ultimately she wanted to split us up so he would be out of the picture and she would be "helping" me year after years. One of the hardest things to accept was the fact that she told her dad she was spending day after day trying to keep me from having a "freaking mental breakdown." That told us she knew exactly what she was doing and what affect it had on me. Another hard thing is to accept the fact that after loving this child for 25 years I have come to the realization that I loved someone who essentially did not exist. At that point I have no idea who she will turn out to be. I only know who she is now. Thank you all again for your kindness.
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am sorry Jeanne, your story is really sad. I can't imagine how difficult this has been for you to discover the truth of who your daughter is while you go about trying to claim your identity back, grieving the remarkable financial losses and also the death of your mother. My heart goes out to you.

    I have a 41 year old daughter who fits much of the profile of a narcissistic personality and I know from my dealings with her, how strange a landscape it is to have any encounters with her. Fortunately she hasn't stolen from me, however, it has been the most difficult thing I've ever done to detach from her and accept her and the situation for what it truly is. Seeing that truth was devastating, and yet, it also was liberating since I was no longer involved in an illusion, I was back in reality. Seeing the truth of who our kids turns out to be is a very, very hard thing for us parents to do. Most of us slowly have to pull the blinders off, but for you, they were ripped off suddenly and with brutality.

    It sounds as if you're not through the woods yet, since no arrest has happened and your daughter's life with her family hasn't blown apart......yet. It would seem that the police should be able to take some kind of action, do they see something moving ahead in the near future? It must be so hard on you to have to wait. Can any of your money be recovered? Because it was an identity theft, do the credit or mortgage companies offer you any relief?

    I hope that you and your husband are seeking or receiving support on as many levels as you can because this is almost impossible to do on our own, we are simply not equipped in most ways to cope well with this. The anger, resentment, sorrow, disappointment and all the other emotions can be absolutely overwhelming. And in your case, you add the financial stress and the identity theft and you are in a high stress arena.......

    For me I had to put a grand focus on myself and my health. I am the same age as you and I live in CA. as well, Northern CA. and believe me, I availed myself to all of the healing/holistic/stress reducing opportunities I could get my hands on. I cleaned up my diet and upped my exercise. I continued with my acupuncture which by the way, is a terrific means of lowering stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, reflexology, massage, therapy, therapist lead support groups.............I did it all because I wanted to stay healthy and as stress free as I had the power to claim. It becomes absolutely necessary for us to focus on ourselves and what we need and want. That will help you get through this without ruining your health. This is an extraordinary amount of stress you are under, so please, make sure you are taking excellent care of yourself.

    That is a statement many of us can probably make too. Some of our kids turned out to be people we can't spend more then 10 minutes a week with, or not at all.

    Keep posting as it feels right Jeanne, the writing of our stories helps us in many ways and knowing our words are going out to others who've been in similar shoes and can be 'committed listeners,' who can empathize and understand is very healing. Sending you peaceful thoughts............take very good care of yourself.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Oh wow oh wow. I am so unbelievably sorry. I think your dtr takes the cake. I thought my son's 3K was bad but oh my gosh if he had stolen my entire life savings, Im afraid I would be under the jail. I wouldnt have your restraint.

    We did have to go through filing the idiotic papers with the bank and then sitting on the cops to make them do their job. It took me about 6 months to force them to file charges on 3 very simple forgery charges that came with witnesses and film. Slam dunk case.

    What everyone is telling you is correct. Your daughter told you with a big fat middle finger in the face where her priorities are and they arent with you. I know it must be so hard to lose the son in law and grandchildren for right now but right now you must. Work with the authorities to see that your daughter is prosecuted to the fullest so you can get back as much money as you are able and then walk away. Its possible that when her husband figures out just what he did he will take the kids and then bring them back to you.

    Good luck. I will be praying for you.
  16. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Thank you again so much for your replies and prayers. My husband and I have had very different reactions to this entire mess. (He lost his father a year after I lost my mother so he has had his own burden to carry as well. He has told no one, can barely manage to discuss it with me, and the only way he deals with it is by not dealing with it. He said he doesn't want to know all the details because he simply cannot deal with them. He is essentially paralyzed from the whole thing. He is a really good guy but had not been a lot of help in terms of tracking down all the accounts, getting the statements, and telling and retelling our story to institutions. He met with the police twice but I have handled the rest of the twice monthly meetings and the weekly emails from the detective. I am basically okay with this because at least we are very much on the same page regarding what has to happen.

    When we first confronted our daughter, she had a year and a half old baby girl whom we absolutely adored. We kept the baby when she and her husband would take trips that we have found out that we paid for. (Las Vegas, the Bellagio, etc.) Since we cut all ties, she decided to have another baby. I firmly believe that she did that on purpose in order to ensure support from her husband once he finds out what she has done, possibly hope for a lighter sentence when that time comes, and no doubt hope that her dad and I would come forward in hopes of seeing the new baby and our little granddaughter again. She texted a cousin of mine about the pregnancy and birth. I have no doubt hoping that we would want to see the children, a fact that would put her back in the driver's seat by holding them hostage for as long as we insist on presecuting her. It has been agony but in the long run, we have to think about what is best for her, her husband, and the two babies. Failing to hold her accountable would do them all a tremendous disservice.

    I have meet with all of the banks, credit unions, etc. where she stole money to report the theft. Every one of them said "sucks to be you but we have the money and we are keeping it." I have been turned down by two different attorneys in my attempt to file suit agains them for their lack of fiduciary responsibilities and both times I have been told the case is too big for them to handle. I think the sad fact is that no one wants to take on the banks. Some of the checks she stole, forged, and cashed at my own bank where they had my signature on file! As for thinking we might get any type of restitution from her, that seems totally unrealistic, she has nothing. Even the house they live in, he bought before they were married, and we wouldn't want to do anything that would jeopardize either him or the babies. We are hoping that at some point our son-in-law will need our help with the children.

    Recovering enabler, just when I thought I was the only one out there who has experienced anything like this, I find someone my own age, living in the same area. Thank you all again so much.
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jeanne, have you tried contacting any politicians in your area who have a record of being against what is presently going on with the banks? Any local representative in your town whom you can at least talk to and perhaps pick their brains as to someone who would be willing to take on your case? It sounds as if you've gone through all the steps, uncovered every single rock. I would be doing that too. It would also serve to keep me busy during such a stressful time.

    I'm sorry you've had to deal with this without the support and/or help from your husband, that puts a burden on you. You sound level headed, determined and resolved, well, as resolved as you can be under the circumstances. It seems as if you've done every single thing you can and more.

    I find it easy to believe your daughter would have another baby. Many of our kids are highly manipulative and cunning when it comes to getting their needs met by whatever means they can. I have to say, your daughter has committed extraordinary crimes against you and your husband, I completely agree with your decision to make her accountable in every way possible, I think that is really the ONLY choice you have.

    I am reading a very good book about grief, you might be interested, it's called Entering the healing ground. Grief, ritual and the soul of the world by Francis Weller. The author is a psychotherapist who actually lives in Northern Ca. and does grief workshops. A friend of mine took his workshop and raved about it saying it was extremely healing. Your husband sounds as if he may be stuck and sometimes we can get congested in grief over a trauma such as the one you two have experienced............if he were willing to attend something like that it might crack that protective shell he is carrying around. The author has a website, If it feels right to you, check it out. He also does private therapy.

    Your story has really touched me Jeanne, I can relate on many levels because my daughter has caused me major heartbreak and much sorrow and it's taken all I've had to get through it and come out intact. I don't know how you come through something like what you're going through because it's more then detaching from your troubled child, your daughter has done remarkable damage to you financially and betrayed you on so many levels......... it's devastating.

    Hang in there Jeanne, sometimes we take our lives one moment to the next and along the way, we pray and put one foot in front of the other until we land somewhere..............I hope you land on a safe plateau on your journey very soon.
  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Jeanne, and welcome again. In studying the stages of grief, I have had some insights about the role of denial and how it protects us from that pain which is too much to bear, right now.

    When my son started going down his bad road, my ex-husband, his dad, could not stop enabling. He is in recovery himself and he felt tremendous guilt about our son's addiction. He took way too much responsibility for it. My son's dad was a good father, the best he could be at the time, and he in no way caused this. I have told him that and tried to affirm him over these past few years. Finally, he saw the physical evidence one day of our son's lies and that was when he was finally able to stop the denial and stop enabling. Our son was still living with his dad and his new wife, and when they were at work one day, he got all of his dad's collection of sports cards out and had his computer up looking at their values. The cards and computer were spread out all over the upstairs of their house. My son got arrested that day while I was there to pick him up to take him to get his car inspected. When the police officer handcuffed him, he emptied his pockets and one of the cards was in his pocket. I saw it. He begged the police officer to allow him to go back inside the house. He wanted to clean up the evidence before his dad saw it. That didn't happen, of course, so when they got home, they saw it all in full living color. That was the day his dad stopped.

    Do you know that our son still denies taking those cards? Even after I saw one in his pocket. I saw it myself.

    I had stopped enabling (for the most part) a couple of years before that, and it was hard to keep on saying No and working so hard, only to have someone else, his dad, keep giving and giving. But I couldn't control that either so I had to let it go.

    The stages of grief are so predictable and so necessary. The thing about the pain we go through on this site is that it isn't final. Death is final, with no chance for change, and that is horrible too. But continuing to endure the endless cycles of yet one more thing they do and say is another kind of horror.

    I have said, myself, that sometimes I think his death would be easier to bear. I know that is a horrible thing to say and in many ways I can't even know what I am talking about there, but at times, before I began the hard hard work on me, the pain and grief and distress were so enduring that I wondered about that.

    There is no predicting next steps with adult kids like ours. They are thinking, thinking, thinking all the time about their next move. We don't operate like that. We can never be on pace with them or one step ahead of them. It is mind-boggling to begin to understand this and to see that the only preparation we can do is to accept what is for today.

    This idea is beyond One day at a time. It is looking full on into the face of our own children and seeing them for who they are---their actions---and saying, well okay. I get it.

    And then, deciding what WE will do for US. Because that is the only path to peace and sanity and serenity. And one of my go-to tools is physical distance. Physical separation. I take my son, who I love so very much, in very small doses. Very small.

    I can't imagine the full impact of what you have experienced with your daughter. To see her for who she is, plus to have lost your life savings, that is such a double whammy I don't even have words to describe the shock and empathy I am feeling for you right now.

    No wonder your husband is in denial. And perhaps your way of dealing is to take action like you are doing.

    Warm hugs for you, and please know that we accept you and him and her without judgment. We are interested here in listening, caring, and surviving the horrors. We are here for you.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Wow. I can understand your husband. My son's father and I are constantly in a different place when it comes to him. The first time my son stole checks from me and forged them, I was completely on my own to handle everything. Well, I guess I had to be because the account was in my name but it would have been nice if he had ever gone to court with me.

    This last time when my son simply stole cash from HIM, well he was madder than a wet hen. I was supposed to get all upset and throw a fit. At that point I was like...this is what I expect and if you (he) leaves things were son could steal them, well what else did he expect? He didnt like my answer. I tried to liken the situation to leaving the keys in the car in a parking lot. Dont be surprised if someone steals your car.

    I have to say I am someone surprised at your banking institutions. My credit union returned my money as soon as I swore out forgery affidavits and helped them file the charges. My son cashed the checks at the credit union so they had him on tape plus his handwriting is so obvious and his name was on the check. Yes he is stupid. My son had nothing in assets but he was made to pay restitution to the bank when he was put on probation. He couldnt get off without paying that off.
  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Jeanne, I am so very sorry that you and your husband have had to go through all this. I can't even imagine the heartbreak and betrayal you must be feeling. I do have one question though. Are you sure - absolutely sure - that your son-in-law knows nothing about this, or at least maybe had some suspicions that something was going on? It seems like he would notice if she suddenly started making lavish purchases and buying expensive airline tickets. Didn't he wonder where the money was coming from?

    I always thought banks were required to reimburse you if they were negligent and allowed an unauthorized person to remove funds from your account ... I guess not! Sending lots of cyber hugs and I hope you can successfully recover your money.