Stealing From the Soldier

Jared gave his mother power of attorney to take care of his bills. He's now $50,000 in debt due to her actions, and he isn't getting any help because of her power of attorney. What should he do now?

QUESTION: Jared in Colorado Springs just returned from a deployment. While he was gone, he gave his mother power of attorney to take care of his bills. She ignored all of his financial obligations and used the money to pay for nursing school among other things. He’s now $50,000 in debt due to her actions, and he isn’t getting any help because of her power of attorney. What should he do now?

ANSWER: The only person who did anything wrong was her. With the power of attorney she is supposed to act, in a fiduciary role, only in your best interest. That’s the legal theory. I’m not a lawyer, but I do know that much. Obviously she did not act in your best interest; she stole the money. I would think at least a civil suit could be brought against her, and even possibly criminal.

How does she sit in the room with you and look you in the face after doing this? This is just heartbreaking. Obviously you could sue her into next week, but she’s got no money. Criminal restitution could work here if you get a district attorney to get excited about this and work this for you. But in the meantime you’ve still got to do the practical stuff to get current, and that could take two years.

I would start arguing with the credit card company and make it hard on them. They did nothing wrong by issuing the card when she had a power of attorney. But it was a misuse of this, and I would force them to collect from her. Give them her work information and all her phone numbers. Give them her address. Give them her dog’s name. Turn them loose on her. Let them have a little fun chewing on her for a while. At least she needs that.

Then you have to decide if you want to pursue this criminally or not, if you can. I’m not an attorney but it sure sounds like you’d be able to.

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