[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

New Port Beach Elder Fraud Case Calls into Question Legitimacy of Power-of-Attorney

April 18, 2011

A 41-year-old Newport Beach man is facing a Santa Ana burglary charge, caretaker theft from an elder, fraudulently using an access card and three counts of forgery. Police say he swindled a deaf and blind 98-year-old woman suffering from dementia.

A Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer will also have to defend against several sentencing enhancements, including allegations for a non-accomplice present during a residential burglary, causing over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white-collar crime over $100,000, and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison.

Theft crimes in Santa Ana are among the most common criminal charges. Statewide, there were 585,813 property crimes reported in 2009. In 202,639 cases, the value of the property was more than $4,000, according to the California Department of Justice.

Financial crimes, especially those dealing with fraudulent use of credit cards and bank accounts, can be complex cases that are difficult to prove. An experienced defense lawyer will conduct a thorough review of the case and may challenge the validity of some of the charges. If a negotiated deal is in a client's best interest, the attorney will likely be successful in significantly reducing the number and severity of charges the client faces.

Police accuse the defendant in this case of moving into the house without the victim's knowledge after his mother became the woman's live-in caretaker. He is accused of using the woman's credit card to charge items for his girlfriend, of taking out a loan against her house, and of having the woman sign over power of attorney.

Medical experts contend she was not competent to do so. Cases involved powers-of-attorney can be particularly complex. Such powers are often granted to care for an elderly person who is becoming incapable of remaining self-sufficient. Whether the woman is incompetent now -- and whether she was incompetent at the time such powers were granted -- is an issue for the court to decide, regardless of the opinion offered by law enforcement.

If you are facing charges of fraud or embezzlement in Santa Ana, contact the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. to discuss your rights. Through three decades of experienced, Attorney LaBarbera has argued over 200 criminal trials and appeals. Call (714) 541-9668 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.