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Help Clients Avoid Financial Disaster

By Stephen Tweed

I’m in San Diego, California this week speaking for the annual convention of a rapidly growing home care franchise company.  While checking into the hotel, I picked up a copy of the local newspaper – U-T San Diego, and there on the front page was an article about a couple being charged in an elder scam.

Michael and Melissa Woodward of Las Vegas, NV were arraigned in local San Diego court last Friday on charges of residential burglary, grand theft, theft from an elder, and selling insurance without authorization.  Prosecutors contend that their schemes involved at least 238 victims.

The Woodwards are accused of selling a $4,000 per year program that promised to pay for unlimited in-home, non-medical services (Private Duty Home Care).  The victims would pay for the services and then submit a request for reimbursement.  The Woodwards would pay small claims, but claims for bigger bills were ignored or rejected.

The couple apparently picked their victims carefully, taking advantage of those who were easily confused.

The couple used the proceeds from selling this program to the elderly to pay for a lavish life style that included a home on a golf course, art, jewelry, and cars.  They apparently have used this scam in Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota in addition to California, and raked in more than $6 million over 10 years.  They operated under the business names of “Secure Tomorrows”, “Home Health America”, and “Secure Care”.

While this couple was arrested in their Las Vegas home and extradited to San Diego, there are probably others out there doing similar scams.

Help Your Clients Avoid Financial Disaster

You can help your clients avoid financial disaster by helping them understand what a real long term care insurance program looks like, and who the reputable companies are in your community.  You can also work with your clients to help them find sources of funding for their home care such as their long term care insurance policy, Veterans Administration benefits, or reputable reverse mortgage companies.

The more you work with your clients and their families to assure their well being, the more trust you build, and the more word-of-mouth referrals you’ll get.  It just takes a little extra effort to help you clients with peace of mind, quality of life, and independence at home. 

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