Lawsuit Claims Illinois Nursing Home Staffers Stole $600,000 from 97-Year-Old Resident
According to the lawsuit filed by her public guardian, workers at a Chicago-area nursing home stole $600,000 from a 97-year-old nursing home resident with dementia.
The resident of Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park had accumulated more than $600,000 in savings from her long career as a federal government employee. She asked workers for help with her finances, but they took part in a yearlong scheme to steal her money. They cashed checks, made ATM withdrawals and transferred money online without her consent, according to allegations in the lawsuit.
“I’ve never seen this level of corruption,” says Charles Golbert, who was appointed to be the victim’s temporary guardian last Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court and it accuses several workers of stealing money from the victim. For example, workers are accused of cashing large checks, some for as much as $50,000. One employee allegedly stole $191,000 and had her two children cash some of the checks. A private contracted caretaker has also been accused of cashing two checks for a combined total of $50,000.
Chicago police have opened a criminal investigation into the allegations made in the lawsuit, according to a spokeswoman for the police department.
Symphony Post Acute Network, which operates Symphony Residences and other facilities in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, released a statement revealing it learned a resident was giving money to employees several months ago. Employees accepting money from a resident is a violation of company policy.
The company launched an investigation and contacted law enforcement. Golbert was informed of the allegations by the Illinois Department on Aging a few weeks ago. The Illinois Adult Protective Services Program was contacted by the resident’s bank in May about suspicious spending.
Elder financial abuse is one of the most rapidly growing problems in society, according to Golbert. The Illinois Department on Aging received more than 8,000 reports of financial exploitation in 2016 alone. That is more than half of abuse reports the department received that year.
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