Tag Archives: elder abuse

L’Oreal Heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, Subject To Guardianship

The second richest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt, has been declared mentally unfit to manage her affairs by a Judge in France yesterday.  The decision grants control of her financial affairs to her only child, daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, and grandsons Jean-Victor and Nicolas.  Bettencourt-Meyers has been fighting for years to protect her 88-year old mother, who has been victim to financial exploitation to the tune of more than one billion dollars, according to an earlier lawsuit.

Bettencourt suffers from “mixed dementia” and “moderately severe” Alzheimer’s disease, according to a medical report relied on by the Judge in making her decision.  Her mental decline sparked a family court fight.  It began three years ago when Bettencourt-Meyers started a lawsuit to protect her mother from photographer Francois-Marie Banier, who she claimed had charmed the elder Bettencourt out of assets worth almost one billion euros (about 1.4 billion dollars).  She also named Banier as sole heir in a new will and as beneficiary to vast life insurance policies.

Bettencourt was so furious Read more…

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Ten Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines Financial or Material Exploitation as:

The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets.  Examples includes, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.

The Center lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:

  1. Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
  2. The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
  3. Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
  4. Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
  5. Unexplained disappearance of fund or valuable possessions;
  6. Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial
  7. Read more…

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Did insurance fraud led to murder of an elderly woman?

The Stephen Hilbert family is well known in Indiana.  Hilbert founded insurance giant Conseco, which he ran until he was forced out because he owed the company hundreds of millions of dollars.  When the company sued Hilbert to collect the giant debt, he tried to hide behind a series of trusts to shelter his fortune.  Our book, Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, includes the Hilbert story to highlight what trusts are not intended to be used for.

But now Stephen Hilbert and his family are in the news for a different reason.  Hilbert’s mother-in-law, Germaine “Suzy” Tomlinson, died under very questionable circumstances on September 28, 2008 at age 74.

Her death was ruled an accident.  Hilbert and his wife aren’t so sure.  Tomlinson was found fully dressed, face down in her bathtub, where she had drowned after a late night of drinking at a night club.   [See picture which reportedly was taken the night before she died] Tomlinson

There was broken glass, a shelf knocked over and a

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