Ava* thought she had finally achieved the American dream. In 1998, she bought a new home in Bayview and made grand plans to retire in it. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan.
19 years ago Ava started suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. As her cognitive capacity declined, she was forced to stop working. To make ends meet, she rented out rooms to several family members and her ex-husband, Tom*.
Ava’s dementia soon became apparent to her tenants. Rather than assisting her, they took advantage of her cognitive decline. Before long, each tenant stopped paying their rent and Tom started stealing money from Ava’s bank account to pay his bills.
Months passed and Ava’s finances began to look bleak. Bewildered and anxious, she decided it was time to request a reverse mortgage on her beloved home. She reached out to Wells Fargo and set up an appointment. The weeks that followed were a disaster. Ava frequently missed appointments and was confused during phone calls. When she finally made it to the bank, she couldn’t remember why she was there. Nevertheless, the bank persisted and Ava signed the reverse mortgage.
Over the next decade, Tom continued to abuse Ava in the face of her declining health. When her daughter, Hilary, discovered that Tom had been stealing money from the reverse mortgage, she tried to report it. Tom retaliated by changing the locks while Ava was away. One day, Hilary found Ava half-naked and crying in the garage. She rushed her mom to the hospital to have her treated for hypothermia, but it was too late. Ava lost a toe.
Hilary decided to take action. She went to the police to report elder abuse and financial fraud – but the police refused to investigate. Undeterred, she went to the bank to activate their anti-fraud policies, but they refused as well.
Hilary knew that her mom needed an ally, so she came into our office. By the time our attorneys took the case, Ava was in advanced-stage dementia and the home had gone into default because of unpaid taxes. Open Door Legal is now filing for a protective order to keep Ava safe from Tom. We also plan to sue the bank for engaging in a fraudulent and exploitative loan. With your help, we can save Ava’s home and help her live with dignity. Will you join us in sponsoring her case?