Santa Cruz Elder Abuse

A Santa Cruz jury has found a former caretaker guilty of taking advantage of his elderly and disabled clients.

In this case, Peter Reiter, was hired by Eva and James Krageness to perform landscaping duties. When Eva, in her late 80s, lost her driver's license, she had Mr. Reiter take on additional responsibilities such as shopping and driving her and her blind son to appointments. That all seems well and good. However, the issue arose due to the extremely high amount of payments he was receiving to perform these duties.

After the deaths of both Eva and James, a relative discovered that huge payments of $10,000 to $12,000 were being paid to Mr. Reiter about every two weeks. Eva's niece and the executor of the remaining estate of James immediately filed a suit against Reiter claiming financial elder abuse.

The plaintiff argued that defendant should have known that accepting such large sums of cash would be harmful to Eva and James. Reiter argued that there was no undue influence and that they gave him the money of their own accord.

The jury rejected the defense and found that financial elder abuse had occurred. They awarded $600,000 in damages on behalf of Eva and James, as well as, $200,000 in punitive damages plus attorney's fees.

Please contact a professional Elder Abuse Attorney if you suspect that someone has taken advantage of an elderly person in order to benefit from their estate.

*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.

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