Victim of Elder Abuse Dies Before Getting Her Day in Court

March 1, 2013
by Sammons & Carpenter, P.C.

Elder abuse law is an often difficult legal practice area, because we all feel instinctively disgusted by people who take advantage of the most vulnerable members of society. But it is a field where compassionate and experienced lawyers are truly necessary, to try to help the victims of elder abuse. A recent story highlighted the unscrupulous nature of this type of abuse.

Phyllis Roberts, a Duluth area resident, saved all her life to be able to afford in-home care when she became too elderly and infirm to take care of herself. She wanted the comfort of dying in her own home, and she saved $400,000 for this purpose. However, one of her sons, Steven Lee Roberts, took power of attorney over his mother, subsequently wiping out her savings and fleeing to California. Her other son, Fred, and his wife Nan, said that Mrs. Roberts was "terrorized" and devastated, unable to understand why she had to leave her home. Nan said she never understood that the money was really gone. They had to place her in a nursing home and her son Fred said she kept asking, "What's happening with my property? Can I go home? Is the money coming back?" And he could not answer her.

Steven Lee Roberts has been in jail in Gwinnett County for nearly two years on theft charges for the $400,000. But Mrs. Roberts died in the nursing home, without getting her money back or being able to return to her house. The family says court delays have kept Steven Roberts case from going to trial. But now, Georgia's Department of Human Services is trying to work on smoothing the process and educating people on the horrors of elder abuse. Pat King of DHS said they are training first responders and prosecutors about elder abuse and how to identify and investigate it promptly. Although it is too late for her mother-in-law, Nan Roberts told reporters, "They should be a high priority at this stage in their lives. They worked their whole life and saved their whole lives, [and] someone comes along and takes it." Pat King noted that Mrs. Roberts's case is not unusual for the delays but that the new programs and training are opening people's eyes to the devastation elder abuse can cause the victims and their families.

Atlanta Elder Abuse Lawyer

If a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, either by a family member, in a nursing home, or by a stranger, the personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help. As in the case above, this can often be a time sensitive issue and an experienced attorney will do everything possible to resolve a case as expeditiously as possible. The system is slow, so it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our law office today at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Georgia Senators Investigate Rising Elder Abuse
The "Grandparent Scam"