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Monday, April 28, 2014

Glitter girl Nancy Tsai charged with defrauding 92-year-old using POA

As I read this story in the National Post, I was shaking my head in disgust. It seems that sometimes even a friendship of 40 years cannot withstand a person's greed.

Three years ago, Helga Marston, who is now 92 years old, opened an account at a US financial institution. She gave her younger friend, Nancy Tsai, power of attorney over the account and later made Ms. Tsai a trustee of the account. I found the story lacking in one detail, as it does not say for whom the funds were held in trust when the account was opened. Interestingly, the financial advisor who opened the account was Ms. Tsai's boyfriend.

In any event, Ms. Tsai allegedly shopped up a storm with Ms. Marston's account, including a $2.3 million penthouse apartment, a Bentley, two Mercedes vehicles, travel on a private jet, restaurant outings, and personal shopping.

The article says that Ms. Marston had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and had "zero" mental ability at the time all of this was happening. Ms. Tsai has now been arrested and charged. I notice that all of this came to light because the staff at a financial institution became concerned that financial abuse might be happening to their elderly customer.

Click here to read the full story from www.nationalpost.com.

If I had a customer in a situation similar to Ms. Marston's, I probably would have advised her to hire a trust company as her trustee. Sure, there are fees involved, but the funds would be safe, and properly invested.

The article doesn't say what financial condition Ms. Marston is in, now that so much of her funds have been stolen. I certainly hope she is left with enough to provide her with decent care for the rest of her life. In many cases, this kind of elder financial abuse leaves the victim absolutely nothing.

The attached photo of Nancy Tsai accompanied the article in the National Post and is credited to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department.

2 comments:

  1. I see so many people being charged with these types of crimes against the elderly but I am unable to have action taken against the poa of my elderly father even though there is a police report of one of the admitted thefts by the poa of one of his credit cards. The poa followed that up with putting him into bankruptcy for over $100,000.00 even though I have been able to prove to the office of the public guardian and trustee and the police that he was not insolvent and had no debt that he incurred on his own. He just can't afford to support the poa and pay the poa's bills. Taking the poa to court for a passing of accounts I was quoted $15,000.00-$20,000.00. So how else does a family member stop this type of abuse?

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  2. It seems that those who abuse their positions of trust can often do so with impunity. My father passed away in October of 2003; his sister, my aunt, in May of 2008; and my mother in April of 2011. My brother was "taking care of" the accounts and estate matters, as only my aunt left a will. With no sign of any resolution in these estates, I finally consulted with a lawyer in 2012; and this led to my brother and sister finally bringing the estates to probate in May of 2013.

    I insisted upon becoming an estate trustee, as did my sister; and what I have since found is not pretty. Accessing medical records for my mother and aunt from the local hospital, and cross referencing them with bank records, I found that my brother had been entered as the co-signer on their bank accounts AFTER they had been diagnosed with dementia. In my mother's case, this happened three days after a visit to the hospital where it was noted that she was suffering from dementia. He took her to the bank and opened a new account for her with him as the co-signatory with survivorship; and then he systematically transferred all the funds from her existing account into the new account. The existing account had been co-owned with my father, who had already passed away at that point in time; but he did not inform the bank of this fact and he then proceeded to use the new account with all the assets from my parents previous joint account as if they were his own. He still keeps that account, set up in 2005, and uses it as his own. He refuses to turn over the assets which were in the account at the time of my mother's death to her estate, despite the fact that he did not put any money of his own into the account until after my mother's death.

    As far as I can tell, he did not hold any job from the late 1980's until after my mother's death in 2011, and instead lived on money from my father's, aunt's, and mothers old age pensions. I have tallied over $100,000 removed as cash withdrawals, over and above the usual payments for bills and taxes etc., from these accounts when my brother had signing authority for them and my aunt and mother were suffering from dementia in their declining years.

    I'm not going to go into the other things I found in their medical records but it isn't pretty and involves him keeping them isolated from anyone in a position of authority who might have acted in their behalf.

    He has yet to hand over tax records he has kept for my father, aunt, and mother; he has taken virtual possession of my aunt's house, despite instructions in her will that her estate be distributed equally between my brother sister and I; and he is keeping possession of a sizable hoard of silver coins he purchased using money from the accounts.

    My sister, who had agreed to the sale of my parents' house (there are two properties involved in all of this) so that I could take my fair share of the estates and leave my brother and sister with my aunt's house, subsequently decided that she wanted to live in that house herself and proceeded to sabotage the sale of the house in any way she could.

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