Just want to punch someone...namely my sister

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, May 21, 2010.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I learned today that FOR MONTHS my sister, with whom my mother lives, has been using mom's bank account as her own and has been gambling the little bits she receives each month at the casino.

    We're in this hideous stagnant time warp of trying to get my mom into a nice nursing home and this sister in PA (M) has been stalling every step of the way. We deduced that she felt bad that her friend would lose her job caring for my mom (caring being used very loosely) so she's deliberately placed obstacles in the way of getting my mom into a home by failing to provide or completely paperwork, bank statements, etc.

    Well, as power of attorney over my mom's financial affairs, I went over my sister's head (thought we could trust her to do the right thing) and had the bank provide to me copies of the last 3 month's statements. Imagine my horror at seeing hundreds of dollars each month being withdrawn from the ATM at the casino!!! OMG.

    My sister has consistently complained that having my mom live with her is a huge financial drain...together she and her H make PLENTY of money to not only take care of themselves, but mom, which mom could financially care for herself, especially considering that me and my 4 siblings were all sending M $125/month to help with added expenses, such as the care provider. M consistently has been in arrears on her mortgage...almost lost her house last summer.

    Now, imagine my horror when I realized that I have been duped by M, all of us have been, and while we're scraped together that money each month to help care for mom, M is pissing it away at the casino.

    We have to submit the paperwork for Medicaid and they will most definitely request copies of mom's banking statements. Medicaid officials will see those illegal transactions and ask for an explanation. My local sister, T, doesn't want any legal issues to happen with sister M, which I understand (kind of), but at a point, I believe that the illegal transactions on my mom's account will come back to M and she may face legal action...and maybe even me, since I am the financial POA of my mom's estate.

    My sister M is an alcoholic and apparently also has a major gambling problem - at this point I feel like pressing charges. I won't - yet - but my God. I am really nervous that this bank account and all my sister's stealing will cause a major delay in getting my mom Medicaid and into a good home. We were hoping she would be in a facility by now and now this!

    Send up a good vibe please and if any one has any advice on where to go from here, please share it with me. I am feeling desperate right now.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Jo---I'm so sorry this has happened. Gambling addiction, like the others, warps the addicts mind and soul. My mom actually stole my Christmas account one year when she was living with me----I did not press charges because after being caught, she tried to kill herself. That sealed the fate of our relationship though, and after years of enabling, I was forced into a tough love situation with her. We talk today, and in her mind, she has been the perfect mother, but I don't trust her at all.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    i am so sorry it has come to this. Sadly, if you have POA you may face legal problems if you DO NOT press charges. You are responsible for protecting your mother legally and this includes protecting her finances from being stolen.

    I know it may cause a lot of family problems if you press charges. I would seek advice from an attorney to see what you need to do to protect your mother from further attempts to steal from her and to protect YOURSELF as the one having her POA while this happened.

    PLEASE talk to an attorney and do what they recommend. A GOOD attorney. I don't want YOU to face legal problems because your sister is a thief. Sis may be able to escape prosecution if she goes to rehab and gets/stays clean.

    I am so very sorry. This is NOT your fault. It is all on your sister. If you have to take legal action and your other sisters object, pee on them. Your mother must be protected and you must put both her interests and your own interests far ahead of what your siblings want, esp what the thieving sister wants.

    many gentle hugs.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If this has only happened in the last couple of months, I think you can safely change your mom's bank accounts so that your sister has no access to them and you pay the bills and Medicaid will be fine with the fact that you took care of issues as soon as you became aware of them. Your sister MAY have to repay your mother for what she took...maybe. However, your sister would have been allowed a small stipend for having your mom live in her home anyway such as her portion of household bills so keep that in mind.

    IE: when my mom lived with me she got like 650 a month in social security retirement income. I used some of that to help defray the added cost of having her live with me for that an alzheimer patient takes. Special foods each month, diapers, increased water and electricity, my time that I couldnt ever leave the house, etc. I was told by SSA that I was to do this. Of course, I had to buy her clothes, take her to get her hair cut, take her to the doctor, pay her bills, all that stuff too.
  5. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    I'm sorry hearts. I have no answers, just support for you.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I would report the card she used to access the account stolen so that it is deactivated, and I would alert the bank that your sister no longer has authority on the account. Then I'd consider pressing charges over the stolen money if she balks at paying back the funds to your mom. This is not something to be overlooked at all. It constitutes elder abuse and theft -- possibly grand theft if the dollar amount is high enough. And I would not trust her with anything moving forward until/unless she gets serious about getting help for herself. Actions speak louder -- so don't take her word for anything.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thank you.

    I deactivated the card on the account this morning. I had planned on closing the account altogether, but mom's next SS check is due to be deposited into the account on June 3rd and it takes 30 days to cancel direct deposit through the SSA office and have the checks fowarded to a new account/address.

    On Monday morning, I have to go to SSA office locally to prove that I am POA and become the official representative for my mom's financed. Once that is done, I can then make the changes to her SSA account and then close that bank account. In the meantime, I sit on the edge of my seat. I will speaking with the bank lady on Monday after she sends me the prior 3 months statements. I asked for 3 years worth and they are $5/statement! Holy cow. If the court subpeonas the bank for the statements, there is no charge, so we'll cross the bridge when we get to it. Anyway, when I speak with her, I am going to have her put a 'hold' on the account in the hopes of freezing the funds until I have an account open here - then I can simple transfer the funds without my sister being involved until I can get the paperwork through SSA and close the account altogether. What a nightmare.

    All of this should have been done 2 years ago, but everyone tiptoed around M, the crazy loon, and now we're in this mess. I wish I had listened to my gut then and just went against the tide and done the right thing. Really kicking myself.

    My local sister, T, doesn't seem to understand the legal ramifications of this situation and how it may or may not affect me personally. All she's talking about it how she wants her sister back (M) and how she wants to have an intervention once things with mom are settled. I get it. I really do, but I'm still too peaved at M to really care about her recovery at this point. Know what I mean??
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You should be able to put a freeze on the account no problem because my moms bank did that immediately when they became concerned about her when she lived alone and she came in with a 30-something year old guy and was attempting to withdraw a fairly large sum of money. My mom couldnt even write the check correctly and the bank became concerned because the man was standing a bit behind her. They wouldnt allow her to withdraw any money at all. It was actually a mess because Billy lived with her too and he was just 18 but this jerk was taking advantage of both of them. I had no idea of it at all. They wouldnt unfreeze the accounts till I got there and Tony threw the bum out.
  9. jal

    jal Member

    I do not have any experience with this, but am sending up prayers that this can all be worked out without any legal ramifications or further delays in getting you mother settled where she needs to be.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Jo. Glad you were able to get the card deactivated, hope everything else falls into place with no consequences for you.
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Surely if you make the changes asap, they won't come back on you. You'll have fixed it as soon as you knew it was a problem. I just hope the bank and all acts quickly...if your mother is at the hands of your sister and she loses the "incentive" to care for mom, I'd hate to think what she might do (or not do) to retaliate.

    Many hugs. I hope this is settled VERY soon.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As long as you act on it (and you have) you are most likely okay legally. The trouble will be if you don't get her to repay the $$ (or part of it depending on how much your sister was supposed to get for caring for mom) or take the approp steps if she refuses to repay.

    I am SO sory that you have to deal with all this ****. It is a tough thing to cope with if it happens in a nursing home. It is so much harder if it is family stealing from you!

    I am sorry M is a crazy loon with addiction problems that your sisters tiptoe around. Some Al Anon meetings might help you stay sane while dealing with this. Even though M doesn't live with you her addictions are having quite an impact on your life. It might be a source of support to help you stay strong if the tide of your siblings doesn't flow with you. Addiction affects every member of the family, immediate or extended.

    Many gentle hugs and my rhino skin and lots of support as you go through this.
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks so much for thoughts and encouragement. What a crappy day this has been- felt like my head was going to explode off my shoulders! easy child was nice enough to take me to see Date Night and I laughed my butt off and was able to shrug off some of my angst.

    Thanks again. I will post an update as I know more.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Not taking action, not reporting this is enabling M even more. ANd she will be counting on this. You need to let the bank know what has been happening, you need to let Medicaid know. And at least talk to the police, ask their advice (at least, it is what I would do here - but our cops may be different). Certainly get legal advice. who knows? A solicitor might know of a loophole you can use to get free statements, because of the fraud you need to investigate. Or you could ask the bank to investigate the fraud.

    If this were a paid carer who was doing this, you would press charges. In this, your sister who is an addict, cannot be considered to have the protection of family, not if she has been abusing that position of trust.

    Something else you need to do ASAP, before M realises you're awake to her tricks - get to your mother and collect all valuables she may have in her possession, to get these valuables away from M. it may already be too late. M will need money, fast, and will use whatever she can to get it. Make sure there is nothing she can get at. This includes your mother's property in any form. If there is a house somewhere, make sure M can't get her hands on any keys. Forget about deeds or paperwork, a problem we've had over here is people claiming they own a house and putting on the market and selling it, when they didn't even have the deeds. They got the money from the sale, handed over the keys (in one case, this was the neighbour who had been left with the keys while the owner went on an overseas holiday) and then skipped town.

    Do let us know how you get on. You can't be held responsible for the past problems if you didn't know, but now you DO know, you could be held responsible for failure to follow up and try to get her money reclaimed.

    Also check out the will. Make sure there hasn't been a new one written, or a new POA written with M's name on it.

    You really need to keep your mother away from M.