Brother Keeps Lying and Stealing

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by losinghope281, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. losinghope281

    losinghope281 New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm not a parent, but I wanted to share my story and hope some of you can give me some advice regarding my brother. I want to thank everyone in advance for your time to read and respond. I also want to apologize if this starts to sound like a rant. I get so frustrated trying to help him. Before I set the tone for judgement, my mom and dad both work very hard and are at retirement age. They raised my sister, brother and myself in a good home and provided everything we needed. All they asked was for us to get a good education and a good job. My sister is living in NYC with her long time boyfriend and both of them work in corporate jobs. I am 37 working full time in a good accounting job and recently got engaged. My brother is 29 and well, I'm about to explain...

    My brother still lives at home with my parents. He is diagnosed with as having a learning disability. He is perfectly healthy and does not have a down syndrome or anything like that but rather he's "slow". He has had a history of issues from structured learning and was in a special education program in high school. Sometimes I think he has some sort of autism because he is fully capable of learning and understanding, but common sense doesn't seem to be, well, common to him. He has a history of lying and stealing from my parents. He will steal cash from any source in the house. He's stolen from my mom and dad's wallets, coin jars, and even forged checks (for over $2,000). He's gone as far as trying to cash one of my cancelled rent checks I keep for records. No matter how much money he has, he spends more and finds ways to get it.

    Now what does he spend all of it on? He plays a lot of video games and has practically every console and handheld and a ton of games. He also plays computer games, and says he wants to stream online to make money. So all of the money that he's spent have been on games and computer parts to build a "faster computer". As you read through the next paragraph, each time we find out he opened a line of credit and put a stop to it, we continue to see more games and other devices showing up in the house. And note each time we are not aware that he opened another line of credit.

    Here are the problems that we have run into the past 5 years:

    After a couple years off after high school he went to a community college and was working at McDonalds, but became overwhelmed by work and school and one day set a trash barrel on fire in the building. He was caught and expelled from the school. We had to go to court in which he received probation for the incident. He continued to work for McDonalds for little over a year when he was let go. He claimed that he fired for being was short a few dollars on his register, however I don't believe it and he won't tell the truth of what happened.

    A year later he got a seasonal job at Target during XMas season working full time at $11/hr. He was let go within 4 months and he claimed it was because he wasn't picked to stay on, but we found out later it was because he was stealing gift cards. He spent all of the money he made and still spent more.

    Then we find out that he opened 2 credit cards and amassed a debt of over $4,000. We paid this off to avoid interest and late fees. We asked him how he expected to pay it an he said "I'll pay it each month" by (meaning the minimum), not understanding that credit cards are not free. So we explain how interest works and that minimum won't pay it off.

    A few months go by and my parents find a late payment notice from Paypal and we find out he maxed out over $1,000 in credit. Again we pay it off and reprimand him.

    A couple months pass and I find out he opened credit card and maxes it out to $800. Now I'm angry and unleash on him.

    After this incident, he was enrolled into a state program for assisted learning. He decided to learn about computers, specifically IT. The program prepared him to take the A++ exam which is the entry level into IT. I knew he needed additional help so I helped him study each Sunday for 2 to 3 hours. During this time he was doing well in his studies and I tell him that he can start using a card to a limit so that he can buy food and drinks while he's out studying.

    This past February I took him on a trip to Japan, a place he always wanted to go, for his birthday. He loved it. The plan was to come back and continue his studies so he can pass his test and hopefully find a state assisted job.

    Today, April 4, I check his credit report and I see a $1,300 open balance. It turns out he maxed out a Gamestop credit card, the same card we put a stop to 2 years ago. I let loose again, this time I tell him he's selling his things and paying it back on his own. If he doesn't, then I will take everything he bought and selling it

    I'm so frustrated and angry at him. But I keep bailing him out because sometimes I feel like it was my fault for not being a good big brother and guiding him. Every time we find out and discipline him, he'll find a way to do it again. I don't know what to do. I don't understand why he keeps doing it. I can't have my parents deal with this stress and I myself have to work full time to support my future wife and our life. Any words of advice are welcome, thank you for your understanding.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi. Does sound VERY likely that he may have some autism or something else but since he is in your parents house without a diagnosis, adult services (including Disability and a case manager) and your parents seem to either be clueless or won't make him advance then you are out of luck. I don't think disciplining a 29 year old like a little boy is helpful even if he has autism. I will talk about my 24 yr. old autistic son later. Your adult brother needs to be treated as an adult. You punish a Nine year old, not a 29 year old. You make a 29 year old become an adult. Are you his payee? Why do you have access to his bank account? Do you live with your parents too? Maybe it's time to go? Why do you think you can take over for your parents? You are busy and they are letting him stay there. I sure would not do what they are but this is up to them.

    Nobody including you, can make an adult do ANYTHING legally (either bro or parents even if they are elderly). A few things your parents can easily do, if they are willing, is to stop paying the 29 year olds bills, never pay for stupid spending of his, stop washing his clothes, cleaning his room, cooking his meals...he is almost 30! He can take care of himself and he has to. Your parents won't live forever and nobody else will treat him like a little boy who is not responsible for his overspending and theft. He may act young. Society will treat him like his age. He probably needs assistance.

    Your parents have the only leverage over him, such as informing him that if he doesn't apply for services (foodshare, welfare Medicaid AND get evaluated to see why he isn't functioning) he can no longer get money from them (he is way too old for that even if he Is disabled), stop paying for any toys and stop rescuing him if he steals. They can also give him three months to get a job and a place or he will have to go to a shelter. Now if he qualifies for Disability, which requires an evaluation, he would also qualify for a case manager who is extremely helpful to my particular son. I would think he needs Disability and if he were mine and refused to be evaluated, I would cry but I would make him leave so that maybe he will change his mind and get evaluated for services. That helps with housing!!!

    If your parents are okay with his living there with no services, no treatment and with stealing, what can YOU do?. It is their home.

    I would stop trying to control the situation. You have no way to do it and I am sure you have a busy life of your own. If your parents want to talk to us we will gladly share. Show them this site. It is hard to make some of our kids adult but I have a 24 year old autistic son who has a case manager,services, a job, lives independently and has his place and does his own household chores and cooking. He was always treated as if he could do what others can do and he is. But we worked hard to get him help in school and interventions for adults. As parents we worked as his advocate and he was and is very motivated to be independent. I feel treating him like our other kids and having high expectations really helped him. Not working was not an.optuon. He had The Workforce Development get him a job; plus his social security he has enough money. He has a payee to do his bills which your brother can also get IF he is diagnosed. It seems your parents didn't do this before but your brother can do this now. He will have to apply himself for Disability but you can go with.

    You can't control your family. You can only control yourself. Send your parents here, ok?

    Love and light!!
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    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  3. losinghope281

    losinghope281 New Member

    Thank you so much for your words SomewhereOutThere,

    To answer a few of your questions, I am not his payee. The reason I have access is because I asked him to give me his accounts since he opens them without our knowledge and we end up finding out only when it has been maxed out. My parents aren't computer savvy, so they don't know to monitor his credit report or check his accounts. We pay it off so that we don't continually accrue further interest and penalties. I myself have lived out of the house for 8 years which makes it hard for me to keep tabs on him. I have to constantly monitor his financials because if I don't he sneaks off and opens more credit cards. I know my parents will not kick him out, being that we are Asian, there is a shame in our culture for doing that. I know he is capable of working and being sufficient, but for whatever reason he will not stop sneaking around and finding a way to buy things he wants. Even when he had a job, he still spent MORE than he made. It's like he doesn't understand that money isn't free or unlimited. He just keeps doing it without thinking of the consequences. Getting back to why I try to control the situation, he listens to me more than he does my parents, and I have tried to be more patient and understanding of what he wants. And it always goes back to the same thing where I find out he's spent a ton of money he doesn't have and has no way to pay back.

    Thank you for hearing me out and kudos to your son for being self sufficient and to your guidance and parenting to get him there!
  4. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    You say your parents would never kick him out but can you use your influence to help HIM make the decision to become self sufficient with some community services. That would be my first option. If that doesn't work you still need to stop paying off his debts, when you said you were going to sell his things that would be a consequence. Let his credit crash so he can't get more credit. By paying them off you allow the behavior to continue. It might force him to work so that he can get things. Would your parents think about charging him rent? I know you feel bad because he has a disability but i agree with somewhere out there that he is capable of more independence than he is showing. There are many services for the disabled. I am a retired teacher and worked with kids who had trouble learning. One of the people who i admired most was a parent whose son had multiple disabilities. She would allow no excuses she pushed him to do everything he was capable off doing. She told him it just means you have to work harder. By the time he reached high school he had a parttime job and found that there were things he could excell at. So many parents use it as an excuse to allow the child to do nothing. Your brother is not a child and if he can get credit on his own he should have to be responsible for it. Your parents will not be here forever do you really want to have to bring your brother into your home and support him to the detriment of your wife and future kids?
  5. losinghope281

    losinghope281 New Member

    Tired Mama,

    Thank you for your advice! The issue with letting his credit crash is that it will continue to accumulate interest, and could put us in a potentially bad situation. But I do agree with you that he can do much more than he is letting on and should take responsibility for his actions. I've been trying to teach him common sense and what is right and wrong and responsibility. I just can't comprehend how he can't understand how he's spending so MUCH money without having the means to pay it off. It's not I know I can do better, and this is a terrible excuse, but I am very busy myself. I work for a public accounting firm and work a lot of hours and in the process of studying for the CPA exam. But as of today, I put my foot down and told him that he is going to pay it back. His means of income is selling items on Ebay and any money that my parents may give him, a portion is going to pay off his debt. This time I'm not letting him off the hook. I am going to dedicate a portion of my time to help him get his computer certification to get him on track. Thank you again Tired Mama for your words, it means a lot to me to get someone else's perspective.

    Best Regards,