New York Man Defrauds Elderly Grandfather

The grandson plundering vulnerable grandfather's assets-it doesn't just happen in movies. A New York man defrauded his grandfather of more than $300,000 while acting as his court appointed guardian, making any estate planning all for naught. The elderly man was unable to manage his estate because of incapacitating dementia.

When a family and probate court appointed the man guardian in 2006 he soon liquidated an account belonging to his grandfather, worth $250,000. He then took the money back to New York. The man used the money to purchase a flat-screen TV, a pickup truck and a semi automatic weapon and never filed a federal income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations Division investigated the activity.

The man pled guilty in January to mail fraud, conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property, among other charges. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the Massachusetts insurance program for elderly residents because he lied to it and the probate court about the appropriation of funds. The man must also pay the IRS $85,751 and forfeit the stolen money, amounting to $179,500.

Cases of Alzheimer's or dementia can make the elderly vulnerable. Wills and other estate-related matters can be contested in court for undue influence or fraud. However, the IRS was the only party that contested the behavior of the New York man, perhaps because the grandfather was without other family members.

The grandson will now serve two years in federal prison and three years of supervised release. Though justice may have been served, a better guardian may have avoided the problem entirely.

Source: The Republican, "Grandson gets 2-year sentence for plundering dementia-stricken grandfather's Greenfield estate," Jack Flynn, April 26, 2012

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