Monday, November 20, 2006

Undue Influence is Not a Crime

So said a California appeals court last month in ruling on the case of a 78-year-old San Mateo man who wrote over $660,000 in checks to a friend and helper.

Norman Roussey, who had an "anxiety disorder," lived with his mother until her death a decade ago. Roussey met Ronald Brock, a law school graduate who worked for his lawyer, while he was settling his mother's estate. Brock became his companion, driver and helper. He saw Rossey through anxiety attacks.

He also wrote checks to himself from Roussey's checkbook, followed him around the house pestering him to sign until he did, and told him not to tell anyone. He also kept money that Roussey had given him to prepare his tax returns, make mortgage payments, and invest in real estate. As a result, Roussey ended up losing his home and much of his inheritance. When Brock got Roussey to cancel an annuity he had written to benefit a niece, she contacted APS and the case was reported to the police. Brock was charged with theft.

The case went to court in 2004. The prosecutor, Melissa McKowan, argued that Brock had used undue influence to manipulate Roussey. It was clearly a test case. Undue influence for profit has been the grounds for civil actions like overturning wills but there’s no existing law that says you can commit theft by undue influence. After conflicting testimony by psychiatric witnesses about Roussey's mental state, Superior Court Judge Joseph Bergeron told jurors they could convict Brock of theft by undue influence if they concluded that he’d taken unfair advantage of Roussey's "weakness of mind.” They did, and Brock was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to return the money.

But in last month’s ruling, the appeals court overturned the theft conviction on that grounds that obtaining money by consent is only theft if the defendant uses coercion or misrepresentation and that Judge Bergeron erred in allowing a conviction for conduct that was "little more than overpersuasion." Brock had already completed his prison sentence with time off for good behavior but hasn’t repaid the money. Roussey will seek repayment in a civil suit.

San Diego Prosecutor Paul Greenwood, who sees cases like these often, isn’t disappointed. “It’s a major step forward that we even have a court of appeal decision on this theory of theft. Ten years ago, this would have been unimaginable. Undue influence is an area that remains undefined, and I’m thankful that we have prosecutors in California like Melissa who are gutsy enough to push the envelope and take a case like this to trial. It shows that California is ready to accept and embrace the concept that undue influence is criminal and needs to be addressed in the criminal arena. The decision actually provides an impetus for a change in the law, which, hopefully, will follow.


DawnJ said...

I agree with these articles that undue influence is criminal and it should be treated as such. I am always amazed at the amount of newspaper headlines and news reports that tell the tales of people taking advantage of the elderly. Financial exploitation is on the rise and I believe it will continue to get worse with the baby boom population entering old age. People play on the elderly’s loneliness and need for assistance to make money and steal. After reading these articles I am glad that the courts and prosecutors are beginning to hold these thieves accountable for their actions. Dawn J

Jessica Parent said...

I agree with this article and the others posted on undue influence. It is clear from the text that Ronald Brock used undue influence (i.e. pestering the victim to sign checks, stealing money that was supposed to pay for tax return preparation & real estate)all the while telling the victim not to tell anyone. Hmmm, this sort of sounds like abusive behavior.

I am happy to see that their are prosecutors who care about the exploitation of others and push to hold perpetrators accountable. Hopefully, this will start to turn the tide of having to substantiate that a person (the victim) is of "weak mind," in order to prosecute a case. What about taking advantage - using undue influence - on an unsuspecting person? Why can't that be enough?

Jessica Parent

MindyD said...

How outrageous that the appeals court overturned Brock's conviction and, according to a subsequent post, further appeals are impossible. While it's important to see the bright side, that the envelope is being pushed in California regarding criminalizing undue influence, in the meantime, Mr. Roussey is still minus his home and most of his inheritance, plus all the legal fees, and years of litigation -- can we even imagine what it's been like for him, what havoc it's probably raised with his anxiety disorder?
So since it's not considered a crime in CA, I wondered about NH, and checked the RSA's, which don't say much, but do lump undue influence in with harassment, duress, deception, and fraud. A little further on, it reads that exploitation may be prosecuted "if there is reason to believe a crime has been committed". That almost sounds like undue influence can be treated as a crime, but the law is far from specific. Does anyone know?

I noticed another area where the legal system seems to be failing elders, in the article Overlapping Issues and Legal Remedies. Jordan wrote that generally, financial exploitation is not a sufficient basis for getting a protective order. It seems like unless we see bruises and broken bones, we're not convinced that people (of any age) are being abused.

Ms. Nerenberg's referrals to articles by and about Margaret Singer made for a worthwhile trip. Singer made the point that an elderly person doesn't have to have dementia or some defined impairment for exploitation to happen. Elderly widows who had always relied on their husbands for financial and other decisions can also be vulnerable to undue influence, or "social persuasion", or "brainwashing". The CA judge who overturned the Brock conviction called it "little more than overpersuasion" of Roussey, an elderly man with an anxiety disorder. Good grief. How bad does it have to get? Reading some of the subtle yet coercive tactics used by perps was quite frightening and chilling.
Another of Singer's points that has stuck with me is her question, "How can we help people become critical thinkers from grade school on?" I think this is a clear and present need in our society, as well as encouraging people to stay connected with our elders, because connection is probably our best weapon against the isolation tactics of abusers.
-- Mindy D.

Anonymous said...

i agree with both jessica and dawn that undue influence is a crime. ronald brock used undue influence to coerce the vicitm and also stole money that the victim was giving the perpetrator to pay his bills. this is very sad to me, but i have a feeling that this happens more than we hear about. it is very sad that our society doesn't respect and give elders the treatment they deserve instead many individuals prey on them. why is it that so many other cultures see there elders as wise and our country sees ours as "having their day in the sun" and incompetent? meredith w

Anonymous said...

I find this story so infuriating by the fact that Brock was let off the hook and not required to pay back Roussey for all of the money Brock had stolen from him. Why is it that even though we all KNOW that Brock financially exploited Roussey, perhaps more easily due to Roussey's vulnerable mental condition, that laws are not put in place to protect ALL individuals, including those with diminished mental capacities and the easily victimized elderly? This is theft and we know it! I remember an elderly couple in my home town who were terribly financially exploited. "Friends" of theirs moved in under the guise of caring for these individuals out of the goodness of their hearts, when in fact they were constantly living by the means of these elders, eating their food, staying in the home (free housing, heat, & hot water), etc. I believe the elders fully knew that they were being taken advantage of, but because they needed someone there to help look after them (do their grocery shopping, bring in logs for their wood stove, etc.), they were afraid to be have these people leave and be left alone.

After going onto the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse website, this site made it even more clear to me that the elderly and those without "weakness of mind" are very easily financially exploited. We all crave companionship. As a society, we need to recognize and stop putting our heads under the sand, that particularly the elderly are being manipulated in giving their money and assets to those who are not looking out for their best interests. The criminal justice system and each and every state need to stand up and state the obvious: Undue Influence Is a CRIME!!

Adrianna C.

Unknown said...

I think that it is sick that someone would exploit another person. It was also disheartening to read that the conviction was overturned and that to this day the money has not been repaid. The fact that the prosecutor was happy because the man was convicted the first time is interesting particularly because he said that the court system has come a long way. I can see how he is happy but I am still frustrated by the outcome.
Stephanie S.

Anonymous said...

It is unbelievable to me that an individual can be robbed of over $660,000 (and not to mention what he was robbed of emotionally) and no one is being held accountable to return the money to him. On a positive note, I am happy to see that undue influence is now getting more attention in the criminal justice system. Hopefully this case is a step in the right direction, because I, like many others, believe that undue influence is a crime. I agree with Meredith that there is definitely a problem in the way in which our society views the elderly. Rather than view them as weak and vulnerable, people need to start realizing that the elderly have a lifetime of experiences that we can learn so much from.
Marti B.

Anonymous said...

I agree with my classmates that this is an infuriating topic/story. Even though this has been brought to the attention of others there are numerous situations in which the public never knows about.

I can think back to another highly publicized media circus event with Anna Nicole Smith and her elderly husband. I remember when the story came out how there were mixed feelings about that situation as I am sure there still is. My point being that even though these stories are publicized it does not necessarily change what happened or what the outcome is.

I am a bit discouraged that undue influence still remains undefined, and with only one state, California, really pushing this issue I think it will take longer than it should.

Adrienne Herr

Anonymous said...

It is so hard for me to understand how a person can get away with taking someone's money and not be held accountable in the court of law. I agree we are moving in the right direction, but it seems like we should already be there in 2007.
Again and again the victim is held responsible for their own abuse while the perpetrator goes free. I think there needs to be laws passed to protect the elderly and their money. Ruth

Unknown said...

Jessica, you hit the nail on the head. Brock used his influence to isolate Norman and to convince him that he needed Brock to survive. He took advantage of his finances and told him not to tell anyone. That meets abuse by my definition, even if an appeals court disagrees. I can only hope that Norman's civil suit has a more satisfactory result, and that prosecutors will continue to be daring enough to bring cases like these to the courts' attention.

Anonymous said...

Undue influence is a crime...I know of a situation first hand (well maybe second hand) where an elderly man that I knew was befriended by someone else (who is a local "friend" to many lonely, or reclusive elders) and tried to convince this individual to sign over his power of attorney as a way to protect his assets. This conartist makes a nusance of himself in Portsmouth among the elderly--and actually claims to be helping them--all the while coercing them into signing over land and house deeds. Litigation is currently underway by the neice of the victim (who has since passed away) as she is trying to reclaim the property that this man essetially stole from her uncle. The neice is also aware of another elderly woman that this man is currently trying to seduce into a friendship...

It is appalling that this would be seen as anything other than theft and anyone who perpetrates such offenses against another, who is simply trying to be friendly or agreeable, is nothing less than a criminal and should be tried as such.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Undue Influence is a crime. These articles sadly illuminate the lonely and dependent circumstances all too many elderly persons find themselves. It’s a tragedy to think that after a lifetime of work to prepare for the “golden years” an unsuspecting “friend” can manipulate defenseless and trusting elderly to the degree that they are left helpless and penniless. In Roussey’s case, his anxiety disorder already placed him in a vulnerable state. The fact that he lived with his mother until her death only illustrates the case. Brock saw an opportunity and swooped in. He misled him on how he would use the money, and to my mind, badgered poor Roussey – already in a weakened state, and dependent upon Brock – until he handed over the money. Now, in my book, that’s coercion; the implication is that if Roussey didn’t hand over the money, he’d withdraw any care and support on which he had become dependent. It is theft, and prosecution was the right course of action. I’m shocked that the conviction was overturned.

In the California case of the 97 year-old Bosco, the evidence does not seem to be as clear-cut. Perhaps not all the information is provided in the blurb. That is not to say that I am not wary of any undue influence of caregivers and the need to monitor any benefits those within their charge bestow. Although the chain of events – along with the timing – seem fishy, I don’t see any evidence that there was mistreatment or coercion on the part of Ann and James upon Ms. Bosco. It would not surprise me that that would be the case – and I’d like to see more detail on that – however, I can’t help but wonder where the family was during her declining – and vulnerable – months at the end of her life. That they show up after her death to fight for their share of her money just doesn’t sit well with me. Like I said, perhaps not all the information is provided in the blurb.

Long-distance abuse on the elderly is still abuse. The blurb on telephone scams seems targeted to vulnerable elders by the use of psychological tactics and dogged persistence. Is it really requisite that prosecution in such cases be restricted to care-providers and lawyers?

Cathy O

lindsey mogren said...

Financial abuse, unique to the older population, is an important topic to consider in our work with this population. Those who claim that undue influence is not a crime are just as bad as those who say that abuse victims must like the abuse or they would leave. Often times, elder victims of financial abuse may be stuck between a rock and a hard place, and when when people play off their weaknesses: loneliness, dependence on others, sometimes decreased mental status, etc, this may make it difficult for them to make efforts to halt the exploitation. They may be dependent on this individual for care, and may feel that they have to choose between their money, and the care that is being provided for them.

I was happy to read in an article that some financial institutions are becoming more savvy on this topic and are starting to monitor bank accounts for suspicious activity, such as sudden, frequent transfers to an unknown person. While I think that this, as well as the California lawsuit, are steps in the right direction, I think that this is an important area of abuse that deserves more attention as many of my colleagues have pointed out.

Lindsey M

Unknown said...

How frustrating that this man was clearly being emotionally and financially abused and continues to be by the overturning of the verdict. Despite Brock serving jail time, this does not return the money or compensate Mr. Roussey for the emotional abuse he suffered and the, I assume, inevitable anxiety attacks.

I agree with my classmates that it's unbelievable that in 2007, we still do not have a clear-cut procedure or system to deal with financial swindlers like Mr. Brock -- it's obvious to everyone that what he is doing is wrong -- why can't the law reflect the consensus of the population?

Anonymous said...

Amanda C: Wow, what a shame. I firmly believe this man should be prosecuted for this crime. It is heartening that this case was brought forward and that that is considered to be a step in the right direction. I worry constantly about my grandmothers and ask them constantly to be aware of scams and people who might try to exploit them for money. I try to be around when my grandmother (who lives near me) has an electrician or handy man over. I saw a truck the other day and on it was an ad for "Handy Man for the Elderly". I feel bad, but I wondered if he was fair and honest in his dealings with his elderly customers. I must say that after the Elder Abuse module I am not looking forward to getting older. It must be bad enough to be physically, and perhapy mentally what you once were, but to also have to worry about being taken advantage of must really stink. I hope my (future) kids and younger relatives are kind to me! I'll have to plan on giving all of my money (haha- what money) to charity, so no one will factor that in when it comes tie to take care of me. Although, then I wonder if anyone would bother if there were no financial gain in the end...

Gina J. said...

I agree with Dawn in that I think there is no doubt that undue influence is criminal and should be treated as such. I also agree with Mindy that it's absolutely outrageous for the court to have overturned Broch's conviction. It is my opinion that by doing so, it sets an example for future perpetrators who may think that they will be able to get away with crimes of this nature.
Major kudos to the prosecuter, Melissa McKowan for asserting herself; I'm sure it's not easy to be a mover and a shaker in an arena such as this.

A Bergeron student said...

The court case concerning undue influence used by Brock on Roussey was enlightening, as I would have assumed that Brock’s manipulation of Roussey for his own financial gain would have been considered a crime in any state. The appeals court stated that unless theft resulted from “coercion or misrepresentation,” it wouldn’t be deemed criminal. As others have commented, I don’t understand why the court didn’t interpret Brock’s actions as such, as he apparently misled Roussey for his own financial gain (for example, by pocketing money Roussey had given him for the payment of bills, taxes, and investments). I’m glad that steps are being taken to address the problem legislatively, as the appeals court was unable (or, perhaps, unwilling?) to provide the proper redress.

I agree with Cathy O. that the Bosco case is not as clear cut. It’s reasonable to believe that Bosco was deeply grateful to her friends for taking her into their home and providing care and support to her in the last two months of her life. Her decision to change her will so that her estate was left to them, rather than to her family (who apparently provided little or no support to her while she was dying), may have been a logical and rational decision she made independently. However, I do agree that any situation in which there’s a change in a will that names beneficiaries who have served as short-term caregivers for a terminally ill person should automatically raise suspicions, as the possibility of coercion is so high. In Bosco’s case, she made multiple changes to her will, leaving increasingly more of her estate to her friends, which could very well indicate coercion.

Duhigg’s NY Times article in the Preditors and Politics section, entitled Bilking the Elderly with a Corporate Assist, was also very enlightening. I have an 84 year old family member, who I’ll call Joe, who has been bilked out of at least $18,000 in savings by telephone and mail scam artists. The article explains how the scammers find names of people like Joe to target. I then read Margaret Singer’s and Ira Turkat’s articles, and saw how Joe fits their profiles of elders who are particularly vulnerable to undue influence. Singer writes of widows (female) who are “very dependent and overly trusting,” as they relied on their trustworthy husbands to take care of various duties for their households. Joe, who is a widower, fits this profile, as traditional roles were reversed in his marriage. His wife handled all matters financial (allowances, purchasing, bill paying, saving, investing), medical, legal, and household (including minor car and home repairs). Joe also fits all four items on Turkat’s list of predisposing factors that led to undue influence: 1) death of a spouse, 2) isolation, 3) need for social attention, and 4) dependency. Joe has no friends, as he often exhibits a nasty disposition, so his social contacts are limited to visits from his four children, 1 young grandson, a sister-in-law, and a maintenance man he hires to help with yard work. He’s apparently been narcissistic during his entire adulthood (I’ve known him for 34 of those years), and tries always to be the center of any interaction. He was dependent on his wife, and when she died, he became dependent on some of his children for most of the tasks that his wife had done for him.

Joe has somewhat limited intellectual and very limited emotional capacities, so Singer’s suggestion that helping people when they’re young to become “critical thinkers” to reduce undue influence probably would have had a limited effect on Joe. I am Joe’s primary helper, and although I’ve been successful in educating him about specific methods for protecting himself financially (e.g. not giving credit card numbers over the telephone), when the excitement of a new contest presents itself in his mailbox, he can’t seem to resist. The contests usually inform him that he is the lucky winner of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars, and all he has to do is mail in a “registration fee” to collect his money. In these cases, his emotions override his intellect, and he has sent from hundreds to thousands of dollars in cash to the scammers to receive his prizes. Even though he has done this many, many times, and has never received anything in return, he continues to do it. The only way I’ve found to protect Joe from depleting his entire retirement savings is to restrict his access to it, and dole out funds to him only for necessities.

It wasn’t until talking with Professor Bergeron about Joe’s situation, and reading Lisae Jordan’s article from class, entitled Elder Abuse and DV: Overlapping Issues and Legal Remedies, that I learned that “guardianships and conservatorships can be limited as needed. For instance, a guardian can be appointed to make medical decisions, but not financial ones.” I need to learn more about these legal processes, as I think they will be valuable in my work with elders, particularly those who are victims of undue influence.

Anonymous said...

I, myself am trying to find an attorney to help me with my case. It deffently falls under undue influence. My dad, for 36 years, had the bulk of his estate to be given equally to each child. But 48 hours before he was to go in for surgery, my step parent had my dad write a one sentence will leaving everything to her. That was all it said, signed and dated. All privous wills leave bank accounts, money, land, mobil home, brick house, and some other personal possessions to his children. And the day of my father's furneal, my step parent takes the holographic will to her attorney, and my nightmare started. I even have a taped conversation where the stpt. says they made him write out this will so they would not have to deal with us, the kids from first marriage. I believe this recording would fall under undue influence. Not only that, but for the past 36 years, he never ever put anything in their names jointly, except for their home. When he inheritated land, the brick home and other stuff, he kept it in his name only. His banking was at a seperate bank in his name only. There was bank accounts set up for his other children, payable upon his death...which she was able to whip out using her POA, which I dont believe the signature on it was my fathers either. He was a great man and loved his children. we visited with him often, even right up to the day before her will was written. I beleive to be able to prove undue influence, you need proof the person was corced into leaving assets that were intended for someone else. I have the taped conversation. Doesnt that count? All my father's actions for the past 36 years. I need help....and to top it all off, this stpt told me that they should have divorced my parent a few years back,then they would have been able to get their money. It made me sick...and still does. To know they hated us and my parent and they will be the ones to recieve everything. How, in this day in time, can that happen? And my attorney told us yesterday, there was NO WAY we could get my parents medical records to prove mental state. So how can I go on? This is a sizable estate, and I will loose the land I live on, and my brother will loose the house he lives in also. We have lived in these for 10 plus years. They belonged to my father. I am lost. I need help!

Lisa Nerenberg, Consultant, Speaker, Trainer said...

A good starting point for exploring your options is to contact your local adult protective services (APS) unit. A state-by-state directory is available on the Web site of the National Center on Elder Abuse at

The site further explains what APS units do, although they differ somewhat from state to state and even within states. Essentially, they investigate alleged abuse and may direct callers to other local agencies that can help, including law enforcement, probate court investigators, public guardians, legal assistance programs, and social services. Some also maintain information about private attorneys who are knowledgeable about elder abuse. You may also want to contact your local bar association.

Anonymous said...

What is considered undue influence???? I'm in New Jersey My mother has dementia. I've had poa since 2006. Recently my mother came crying to me that her other daughter have took tremendouls amounts of money in loans and now are making excuses to avoid paying the loans back. Nothing is in writing but their is a paper trail. To avoid me forcing payback my sisters have tried several times to remove my as POA. Once I thwarted the attempt. Once the attempt was successful but reversed within 24 hours my our mother. Then they spirted her away from that, denying me access to our mother and at that time the POA was changed. I had to get an attorney who says this is illegal and I should not comply with the other attorneys demands and fork over the financials. He said business as usual continue to pay all moms bills and continue to do all that's right. My one sister even blackmailed me threatening to have all family members boycot my sons wedding, have me arrested for hiding another sisters disability check (this is her dying wish- all funds to go to her daughter instead of the nursing home) This is illegal but I'm doing this for my sister and her daughter, not one red sent to me. I refuse to collapse under threats. I sincerelt believe my younger sisters are doing this to get their "loans" washed. To date I have done nothing wrong. My mom's bills are paid ontime. They have tag teamed my mother with several calls a day saying I'm ripping mom off, going to sell the home out from under her and put her in a nursing home. Also threatening to put my dying sisters 21 year old daughter in the street since she sides with me. The 21 year old takes care of my mom since none of us can be there 24/7. They also told mom to remove me as poa would be a good desision since I have my hands full with my other sister who's dying. The loans are large in my book...45K to one sister to start her failed business, and 4K to to one sister who make 180K (yes you read that right) a year, is in credit debit cousiling and was short on paying her property taxes (hey nobody told her to buy a home with 18K on property taxes). Any suggestions????????

Anonymous said...

I dont know if this will help, since this post comment has no date, only a time, but it is in reference to the next to last comment from "annonymous" whom posted at 12:45 pm and then was answered by Lisa;

Your story is sad, and well very common. I have a situation too, but my advice for you is to get a GOOD Elder Attny! And then go after that step parent-wife! You say you have no right to your fathers medical records...thats BS in a can petition the court to revoke her POA! and have the court, or APS look into the whole situation. Your story is limited in the explanation of the "one liner will".
You can argue that your father was; based upon his past behaviors (IE separate bank accounts, no joint ownership on homes, etc) under undue influence, extreme duress and/or possibly incapable of making a sound decision when he made that one liner will to sign over a paper allowing her full control. I dont see how that can happen. He attny should know that too, so you have a fight on your hands, but you also have a good historical background to dispute all of it!
You can dispute that this was not his original wishes based on all his past behaviors! He was obviously wary of her, and with good reason, so the fact that he did that action before a surgery means he was under total duress and not most likely not thinking clearly, so CHALLENGE IT!
A one line will signed and dated IS NOT ENOUGH to over rule previous actions/wills/beneficairy designations that were set.
She (the evil step parent) needs a NOTARIZED POA, Notarized WILL and with regards to any ability to make property changes it also needs witnesses! Also if she has a POA (you did not say how she got that, and if you think its forged contest it, call the notary!) Besides a POA cannot sign things into their own name, (unless clearly specified) or become beneficiaries to property via "willing it to themselves"! Question it!
That's a big no no. FIGHT THAT. You are blood and next of kin and EVEN if she has a new will you can contest ALL OF IT; with what she is doing in a Probate court or civilly. Simply having a one line will is not enough. To clear her for access from what I know only a living trust can keep things out of probate.
SO FIGHT. Especially if nothing was in her name as a JTWROS!!
Get an ATTNY and make sure you have all your papers on your dad's past history! That will make a big impact. 36 years of the way he always worked can be challenged! Big time!
The courts and such frown heavily on "sudden changes to benefits in the last moments/years etc" when it comes to POAs, WIlls, and such. You may not get a criminal case against her, but civilly you can get a "cease/stop order" in so that all the info with regards to history of your dads workings, ways he did stuff, deeds, and such can be looked at before she can do further damage it will force her to have to STOP what she is doing and justify it! You have to do that NOW!
Past actions and history make a big difference. Also get your siblings together in this fight, and maybe his friends (if they knew how he felt in the early years about his children getting his inheritance), that can help too. Also look at her history, problems in the marriage, etc.
You have to fight the time line, it goes by statute of limitations...the longer you wait the more you loose.
I am sure your dad would want you to fight for him now that he is gone.
good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am very angry about what happened to my Uncle Mr. Roussey and angry that my grandparents worked all their lives very hard to provide a house to their two children to have when they are gone. And now all that they worked so hard was taken by a stranger Broch who used the money to put his own son through college and I never knew any of this because I was working three jobs to put myself through college. I never asked my Uncle for money. My uncle didn't communicate with me because of his autism. This is a form of a mentally retardation.
He is like a child. In court they refused to check his mental state more thoroughly. How could the law let Broch get away with this. And then my name was slandered in the papers by the lawyers when I tried to help. My Uncle will be destitute soon and living on the street and nobody cares. There has to be laws to protect people. This could happen to anyone. There is no justice in this country. I will try to fight this appeal, but I don't have the financial resources and my Uncle may not be around to benefit from the out come because he is in his early eighties. I thought there were laws to protect people like this. And the here is the thing. It was not undue influence, it was coerection and forcing my Uncle who has the mental capacity of a child to do things he didn't want to do. Is it a crime if you take all the money in an account from a child. Yes and so it should be so with my Uncle. If someone has a form a mental retardation then that person doesn't understand what is happening. This country is screwed up. A thief or criminal with money gets off Scott Free. No strings attached. No payback. If I have to I will talk to the governor on this! This really pissed me off!