OPINIONS, PLEASE...Brother and his Girlfriend "Conning" Elderly Dad
by Mike's Sister
My 54 yr old brother has lived with our parents since 2002. Mom passed away in 2009 after 2 years in a nursing home with end stage Alzheimer's. Mike did not move in with mom and dad to help, he moved in because he had no where else to go.
My brother's on and off girlfriend, Jo, did assist my parents occasionally started about 2004-2005. She very quickly insinuated herself into their lives, calling my dad "Pop" and my mother "Mom".
I could write 100 pages about my brother and money my dad has spent supporting him as Mike has worked probably only 30% of the nearly 10 years he has lived with dad. Dad has supplied room, board, has bought vehicles, paid for insurance, sales tax, clothing, cigarettes (including pot) and even collectibles, etc.
Dad is 84 and it unbelievably good health for his age.
He does nearly all the work around the house and yard, Mike sleeps in. It is beyond pathetic.
Dad has always been the worst pushover on the planet. He does not only NOT know how to say "no", he agrees with anyone's opinion on anything. He has been scammed out of money in such an appalling way that a 10 year could have seen through. His will or resolve is about as evolved a newborn's.
So, when Jo entered the scene, he was ripe for the picking.
First, "because she was hard up for money", he bought a big waterfall 3D scene with real action that you hang on a wall. Hung it proudly; price $100. Next, he bought "her heirloom set of crystal." Also for $100, but according to her, worth hundreds. He proudly hauled the whole set to my house so I could have a look and possibly list it on eBay...so he could get rich, you understand. As I had expected, it was virtually worthless. Dad was sort of dismissive about it; he also cannot ever admit any kind of mistake. Not ever. NEVER.
Then, in 2005, Jo was needing some new appliances and Lowe's wouldn't approve her credit application. My brother has never had any credit, ever. I do not believe Mike has ever had a bank account of any kind.
So, Dad got a Lowe's card on her behalf with her as a signer. At that time she bought a refrigerator because supposedly hers was dead. She chose a model that cost $1800.00 with water and ice in the door. She also got a dishwasher. I guess if a dishwasher could have had water and ice in the door, she'd have gotten that model. I believe the original charged items came to approx. $2500. A little later, without seeking permission, she went to Lowe's and bought a ton of flooring and all the stuff necessary for installation. When my sister and I finally learned about the Lowe's debacle, dad agreed she needed to be taken off the account and my sister handled that. I believe that the highest the account got was $3700.00 or so. Remember, that was 2005.
Fast-forward to summer 2011. Collectors for Lowe's eventually got hold of my dad, a nearly impossible feat for Mike answers the phones and slams them down for any issues dealing with...well, ANYTHING but personal phones for himself or dad. The account had not been paid on in 8 or 9 months and they were demanding payment.
It wasn't Lowe's;
the account had been sold to one of those companies that "settles" accounts. The balance of the account was, after 6 years, $4100.
Dad paid it off at a discount after Jo signed a contract with a very explicit payment schedule, late fees, etc. She is 2 payments behind with late fees mounting up at $2.00 a day.
Dad, during the six years, co-signed for two vehicles for Jo and two or three for Mike. Dad bought other articles from Jo to "help her out". Jo is on SSDI for "mental issues", but pockets cash for housekeeping and other odd jobs. Earlier this year she began cleaning dad's house once a week for $50. Because, you guessed it, she was hard up for money. The thing is, my dad is a meticulous housekeeper and Mike, who should be helping all he can, doesn't help much. It's sheer insanity in my book.
Dad occasionally takes them out to eat; a couple of weeks ago they dined at the most expensive restaurant in our area. Jo's elderly father lives with her; my brother says he needs to be in a nursing home. This would, of course, take the old man's SS payment away from Jo. Jo has expensive taste; she and Mike haunt antique malls...Mike and dad do this too, and dad has bought Mike some civil war collectibles. Jo's good friend was recently arrested for shoplifting...in a jewelry store. She and Jo liked to frequent jewelry store and Jo bought nice jewelry during the time she wasn't paying her Lowe's bill; she only paid the minimum when she was paying it. She is adamant that the rich elderly lady she used to work for who passed away last Oct. has left her money or something in her will. Let's my Dad know that she is just WAITING for that money to pay off what she had owed before the Lowe's account went to collections and still promises the same now that she's supposed to be making direct payments to day. My sister is planning to file a suit in small claims court at the end of Sept.
I learned this weekend that my dad bought Mike a metal detector for $425. That he paid Mike and Jo $75 EACH last week for scraping and painting his porch. (Jo was hard up for money.) She'd been told to stay away from Dad's...had cleaned the house 2 times, once last week and once the week before, for credit against what she owed dad. This had been forbidden by myself and my sister.
My dad's coffers are, by my estimate, about $75,000. less than what they would or could have been had it not been for his expenditures on Mike alone. Mike won't look for work. He'd have to get off the pot to pass a drug screen and that will NEVER happen.
Sorry this is so long. My question: Isn't this elder abuse? Wouldn't Jo be considered a con artist? My sister says dad has to be the one to stop this; I say it's time for us to assist Dad in stopping it because he does not nor has he ever had the capacity.
Please feel free to advise me as to what you would do in a similar situation. Dad's mind is still fairly sharp despite what has gone on. He shows us anger, then kisses Mike's butt. Agggghhhhhh!!! Help!!!