When I read stories like Sentence for swindling mom? Go directly to jail, I can understand why state legislators are concerned about people using reverse mortgages to take advantage of seniors.
Larry Bekis took out $100,000 from his mothers home using a reverse mortgage but failed to use the money to pay $49,000 in nursing home bills. His mother had given her son power of attorney in in 2006 so he could pay her bills and manage her home while she moved into the nursing home.
For the first several months, the woman’s HMO paid the nursing home bills but when Bekis was scheduled to take over that duty in March 2007, the payments stopped. According to the complaint, when he finally wrote a check in August 2007 for $2,500, it bounced. On top of those charges, adult protection officials learned that Bekis was receiving his mother’s Social Security and pension checks, totaling about $3,000 per month.
Bekis pleaded guilty on April 24 to theft by swindle in the first case prosecuted by the Ramsey County attorney’s office’s new elder-abuse unit. On Thursday, Ramsey County District Judge Paulette Flynn sentenced Bekis to a maximum 30 days in jail and to serve up to five years on probation.
My question to everyone is, how can you draft legislation which protects seniors from this happening without harming the reverse mortgage business?