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LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  30 years legal experience
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my friend took care of her elderly father for approx. 5 years.

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my friend took care of her elderly father for approx. 5 years. he gave her permission to take care of his finances, allowing her to sign checks to withdraw cash from his bank. they never got power of attorney, though./ it was all done verbally. her father is now in a nursing home and suffers some dementia. her other sisters have convinced him to "press charges" against my friend for signing these checks, although he gave her permission at the time. now he is "denying" he ever gave her permission. Charges were pressed and there is a trial coming up in a couple of months. she is being charged with a class C Felony. She has an attorney, but isn't this a very "gray area"? No one was there when these agreements were made, only herself and her father. the sisters don't even llive in the same town. wouldn't her father have to testify against her and even then, would his testimony be taken seriously by the jury, since he is now not even remembering what day it is?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of your friend's dilemma.

If she was given verbal authority to write checks, and the checks she wrote were for things such as her father's rent, groceries and utilities, that is one thing and I'm sure that her attorney can defend based on that. However, if it turns out that she wrote checks to herself, or for purchases for herself, she is a world of hurt.

If her father is now incompetent, he might well not be allowed to testify. If he is capable of testifying she can call him as a witness. However, if he is convinced that he didn't giver her authority, or gave her authority only for some checks, and not others--again this will be a problem.

All she can do at this point is hope that her attorney can show reasonable doubt as to her intent to steal from her father.

I wish you well.

Best regards,


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
the thing is, he TOLD her to write checks for herself, for her rent and household bills, for spending money, and some of the cash she wrote checks for was given right back to him, even though she made them out to herself. He then either hid the money somewhere in his apartment, sent some of it to the other sisters, no one knows for sure and her sisters would never admit to receiving any money from him. There are no receipts for any purchases made or anything. But she was not "stealing" from her father, he was well aware, at the time, that she had his checkbook in her possession, although he denies it now. If her father can't testify, won't the charges be dropped? Her sisters can't testify for him as they were not present during any of these transactions, am I correct?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.
Good morning,

While I fully understand that she will testify to that, and even if it is true, she can be convicted based on circumstantial evidence. One thing that will be looked at is how much she took (arguably with his permission) and how that effected the estate.

If her father can not testify, the prosecutor can still proceed based on circumstantial evidence. You are correct, her sister's are not competant to testify about something that they do not have first hand knowledge.

I wish you the best.

Best regards,


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