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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 34550
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
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My dad died at 90 years of age. The last few months dementia

Customer Question

My dad died at 90 years of age. The last few months dementia and confusion set in. I am the only legal heir, and administratrix...he died intestate. His long time girlfriend, who paid his bills from his bank account with his permission for many years because he had gone blind several years earlier, decided to sign his name on some checks and removed the vast majority of his life's savings two weeks before he died. other than in civil court with a "private lawyer", is there any role for criminal investigation? How would I begin the criminal inquiry, which crossed state lines as my dad lived in Ct, the lady lived in NY, and the CD was in NOrth Carolina
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to assist on this matter. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience in criminal law.

Can you tell me, have you notified local police? If so, what was their response?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No I haven't notified the police. My lawyer has been working thru the various banks/insurance companies where accounts existed, but it seems we may be getting to a point where I will be making a decision on a civil suit. That seems like it could be very expensive, and I am so angry now about this that I am ready to hand it over to the proper authorities even if it means she may get in real trouble. (The lawyer and I thought we could convince her to do the right thing...but it appears she believes that he wanted her to have the money even tho if he had told me he wanted her to I would have said fine. And he always told me he didnt want her to, which is why he didnt marry her . )

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 4 years ago.
I would go to the police right away.

The longer you wait the more difficult it will be to prosecute important to understand that the police have "discretion"...the police are not required to investigate the case...they can decline to. But it is certain they will not investigate if you do not ask them. So you start with asking them to investigate

Now...what you describe, it sounds like fraud to me.

If there is evidence that someone other than your father signed these checks, that sure sounds like fraud.

The police will have the ability to subpoena bank they can can look into her bank accounts to see if the money wound up in her bank account. If so? That would sure seem to indicate fraud

The great thing about handing this to the police (assuming that they take it) is that the criminal court system has the power to order her to pay "restitution" they can order her to pay the money back to the estate. That saves you the time and effort of a civil suit.

You mention the FBI...unless there is evidence of "interstate theft" it is unlikely the FBI would take this...they do not get involved unless there is a very large amount of money AND there is evidence of more than one state involved. But the local police can investigate...and if there is evidence she is the one who took the money, they can prosecute.

Bottom line: I would report this to the local police and request they investigate the theft.