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

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.

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Daughter facing receiving stolen property charges in Santa Ana elder-fraud case

The 22-year-old daughter of a couple facing elder fraud charges in Santa Ana now faces charges of accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property, MSNBC reported.

This is classic work by the district attorney's office. An experienced and aggressive Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer should always be called to handle charges of accessory or receiving stolen property. These charges are often beatable and are frequently used by prosecutors against defendants who have refused to cooperate with an investigation.
You have the right to remain silent. Exercise it.

It doesn't matter what prosecutors choose to charge you with -- what you are convicted of is the only thing that counts. As we reported on our Orange County Criminal Lawyers Blog, the 51-year-old Laguna Niguel woman is facing 59 fraud charges alleging theft from the elderly. She is accused of stealing $600,000 from an elderly victim over 28 months while working as a home-health aide.

Her 22-year-old daughter has now been charged with two felony counts of accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property, second-degree commercial burglary and fraudulently using an access card. She also faces sentencing enhancements for loss of more than $100,000, property loss of more than $200,000 and white-collar crime of more than $500,000.

She faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Her father also stands charged. Both parents are scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 15.

Her 56-year-old mother faces nearly 50 years in prison if convicted. Six other victims have reportedly come forward since her arrest on Feb. 2. Her daughter is accused of receiving stolen money and using it to pay for a divorce, medical insurance and other expenses.

She also allegedly used fraudulently obtained credit cards to buy tires and a camera.

The 93-year-old victim at the center of the case is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

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