93-Year-Old Floridian Gets Scammed By Niece And Great-Nephew While Hospitalized For COVID-19
They say that isolation is dangerous for seniors, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, elderly people found themselves in a lose-lose situation. If they interacted in person with others, they faced infection with COVID-19, a disease which, at that time, had no vaccine and no known treatments, and for which people over 60 were considered the highest risk group. If they didn’t, they were alone with their worries, losing sleep and social connections, and perhaps even losing cognitive fitness. The media lamented all of this, but one South Florida man lost his life’s savings when family members of his took advantage of the procedural loopholes created by pandemic-era uncertainty and made transactions which they falsely claimed that he authorized. The worst part is that the victim in this story had done nothing to leave himself vulnerable to financial abuse; he was simply unlucky enough to be infected with COVID-19. If you get scammed by a family member despite your caution, contact a Central Florida elder law attorney.
Niece Forges Power of Attorney Document and Cleans Out Uncle’s Bank Account
News sources did not name the victim in this case, but when the pandemic began, he was 93 years old and living alone in a house in Hialeah. In July 2020, he got infected with COVID-19 and was hospitalized. Like all COVID-19 patients in the summer of 2020, he was not allowed to receive visitors. After his release from the hospital, doctors did not authorize him to go home, but rather transferred him to a nursing and rehabilitation facility, which also did not allow visitors, in order to avoid increasing the COVID-19 exposure risk for vulnerable patients.
While the victim was isolated from the outside world, his niece Hadee Toledo allegedly forged his signature on a power of attorney document giving her control over his finances, as well as on a transfer of property deed making Toledo the owner of the victim’s house. Toledo’s son Italo Nelli brought the documents to a notary and claimed that his great-uncle had signed them in his presence but was unable to come to the bank because of social distancing considerations. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so the notary authorized the documents.
Toledo emptied out the victim’s bank account. She bought Nelli a 2019 Mercedes-Benz E220 and gave him $5,000. Then she allegedly took the rest of the money and fled to Malaga, Spain. Nelli, 19, has been arrested in Miami-Dade County, but Toledo remains at large.
If one of your family members has gained access to your bank accounts or other assets without your permission, an elder law attorney can help.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
Not all scammers are strangers on the Internet or charming new romantic interests; financial abuse of the elderly can even happen from within the family. A Clearwater elder law attorney can help protect you from financial abuse even from family members you thought you could trust. Contact William Rambaum for help with your case.