How did a Seattle cabbie steal a $164,000 from an elderly woman – with state investigators watching?

Last week, King County prosecutors filed charges against 56-year-old David G. Money for stealing from an elderly nursing home patient.

The two met when Mr. Money picked her up as a fare a few years ago. Since then, the woman has written $164,000 in checks to Mr. Money, and another $90,000 in suspicious checks to herself.

The Seattle PI story has more details, but the timeline raises a lot of questions.

1. Nearly 2 years ago, a Chase bank employee flagged the elderly woman’s account when Money brought her in and tried to cash out $98,000.

2. The employee held up the transaction, and reported it to Washington elder abuse investigators. They started looking into the matter in November 2012.

3. Shortly after that, a state social worker met with Mr. Money. A cursory investigation into Mr. Money would have shown a bankruptcy claim in 2009, in which he claimed to have a serious gambling problem.

4. Presumably, DSHS would have met with the victim as well: she is an elderly childless widow reportedly suffering from dementia.

5. Mr. Money had been made the sole beneficiary of the woman’s will, and had been given power of attorney over her estate.

6. Yet, Mr. Money was arrested just this week.

By the time police were involved, the woman had $100 in her primary bank account.

Seattle PI

Did elder abuse investigators let this go on for two years?

Red flags were raised. The bank employee (rightfully) flagged the victim’s account, but apparently Mr. Money continued pilfering money from her for two more years.

Anyone can report possible abuse to Washington DSHS
Anyone can report possible abuse to Washington DSHS

The right people – including elder abuse investigators and the police – were alerted.

Yet, by the time Mr. Money was stopped, he was the beneficiary of at least $164,000, and possibly another $90,000 from suspicious checks the victim wrote to herself.

What happened between November 2012 when investigators were alerted, and police stopped him?

Money is charged with first-degree theft, and is currently free on bond.

There are a lot of unanswered questions in this case that may help explain what happened, or may point out some serious gaps in Washington state’s handling of financial elder abuse.

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