California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Monterey County Judge Orders Money Returned to Woman in Financial Elder Abuse Case

Judge Lydia M. Villarreal, a Monterey County judge who heard the case of an elderly woman who lost her assets due to elder financial abuse by another woman, has ruled that the perpetrator must return more than half a million dollars to the victim.

Renee Travis-Johnson befriended Fujiko Verity, 87, of Seaside in 2006. Travis-Johnson took Verity to several attorneys with the purpose of gaining control of her assets and bank accounts. Within months she had sold Verity’s home to herself for $1,000, which she then used to leverage a number of cash loans, allowing the home to go into foreclosure and leaving the elderly woman without means to care for herself.

In 2008, the Monterey County Public Guardian created a conservatorship for Fujiko Verity and initiated efforts to have her money returned to her.

“Of all the government functions we do, protection of the vulnerable and elderly are at the top of the list,” said Monterey County Deputy County Counsels Cathleen Giovannini and Irv Grant, who were co-counsels in the case. “This decision sends a message that the county is serious about going after those who prey on the elderly in our communities.”

Monterey County recently created the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST), a group of County employees and private experts who can work quickly to respond to complex financial abuse cases. There are FAST teams across the state of California to protect seniors, including one that meets monthly in Ventura County.

For more information about the Public Guardian program, call 831-784-5999.


© Copyright 2007-2017 Monique Bryher

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