AG Racine Announces Wins in Two Lawsuits to Protect Vulnerable Elders from Financial Exploitation

OAG Also Announced Two New Lawsuits Against Individuals Who Manipulated and Exploited Seniors and Allegedly Stole Tens of Thousands of Dollars

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) achieved significant wins in two lawsuits against individuals who financially exploited vulnerable seniors. One lawsuit involved a nursing assistant at a long-term care facility who was stealing from residents, and another involved a son who improperly transferred ownership of his mother’s home to himself. 

In addition to the two judgments, OAG also announced the filing of two new suits to defend elders and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation. One suit involved a former property manager at senior residential buildings who allegedly stole more than $100,000 from two elderly and disabled residents and another involved a man who manipulated and exploited his elderly neighbor for his own financial benefit.

“As attorney general, I have used the law to stand up for the District’s most vulnerable residents—particularly our growing population of seniors, who have contributed so much to our community and who should be able to live their golden years safely and with dignity,” said AG Racine. “Unfortunately, elders are increasingly vulnerable because of the isolation they are facing during the pandemic. Too many fall victim to abuse or financial exploitation, often at the hands of individuals in positions of trust and authority. My office is committed to holding wrong-doers accountable for manipulating and exploiting our vulnerable neighbors.”

With over 87,000 adults over the age of 65 residing in the District, OAG is committed to helping and protecting area seniors and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In 2019, OAG established a standalone Elder Justice Section (EJS) to pursue civil cases, and provide informational resources to residents about their rights, common scams, and other relevant issues. EJS can obtain restitution, temporary and permanent injunctions and civil penalties through civil enforcement of the Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults and the Elderly Act. In 2018, OAG hired the District’s financial exploitation criminal prosecutor. OAG also does a great deal of community outreach, helping raise awareness of financial exploitation and all forms of elder abuse, to increase reporting.

OAG recently resolved two cases and held perpetrators accountable for financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults:

Nursing Assistant at Long-Term Care Facility Held Accountable for Stealing from Seniors in Their Care
OAG filed a civil lawsuit against Fatoumata Bah and Mohamad A. Kamara for financially exploiting vulnerable nursing home residents at the facility where Bah worked as a temporary nursing assistant.  Bah stole at least six blank checks from two nursing home residents’ rooms and deposited the forged checks into their own bank accounts. On December 17, 2021, OAG secured a judgment against Bah—who also has a previous criminal conviction related to stealing checks from vulnerable adults—barring her from working with elders and vulnerable adults in the future, revoking any licenses she held, requiring her to pay $9,900 in restitution to the now-deceased victims’ estates and civil penalties of $30,000. OAG also secured a judgment against Kamara, requiring him to pay $11,475 in restitution to victims’ estates and civil penalties of $35,000.

Son Ordered to Pay $5,000 Penalty for Transferring Deed to Mother’s Home to Himself
OAG filed a civil lawsuit alleging that a son, who was his mother’s attorney-in-fact, abused his power of attorney and transferred the title of her home to himself without her knowledge or consent. He transferred ownership of the house to himself alone despite knowing that his mother wanted the house to be transferred to him and his two siblings. OAG filed an independent action as a supplement to the private case filed by the defendant’s elderly mother. The court returned title in the house to defendant’s mother in her private action and as part of a November 2021 judgment in OAG’s lawsuit, the court barred the son from acting as a fiduciary for an elder or vulnerable adult in the future and imposed a $5,000 civil penalty.

In December, OAG filed two new cases aiming to hold perpetrators accountable for financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults:

Property Manager at Senior Buildings Allegedly Stole More Than $100,000 From Two Residents
In December 2021, OAG filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Nicole Freeman Smith, a building manager at senior residential buildings, abused her position of trust and took more than $100,000 from two elderly and disabled residents of buildings she managed. Smith assisted one resident, who was in her late 90s and nearly blind, with writing checks to pay bills. She allegedly used her access to the resident’s checkbook and financial information to write herself checks and make electronic bank transfers totaling more than $75,000. She also intercepted mail intended for a resident of another building she formerly managed—a woman in her 70s who was suffering from dementia, memory loss and hearing loss. Smith deposited checks intended for the woman into her own account. She used the money she stole from both women to go on shopping sprees at Gucci and Louis Vuitton, eat out, pay off her own personal loans and credit cards, and pay off her 2015 Land Rover. OAG is seeking restitution for the seniors who were exploited as well as injunctive relief and penalties. A copy of the legal complaint in this case is available here.

District Man Allegedly Manipulated and Exploited Elderly Neighbor for Years, Taking More Than $50,000
In December 2021, OAG filed a civil lawsuit against a man for allegedly financially exploiting an 81-year-old neighbor by “borrowing” large sums of money, convincing his neighbor to take on debt for defendant’s own benefit, and offering to “help” the neighbor rent out his basement apartment but pocketing the rent paid by the tenants. Since 2017, the man has used deception and emotional coercion to convince his 81-year-old neighbor to “loan” his business nearly $50,000 and has made no repayment. The man convinced his neighbor to take on debt for defendant’s own benefit, including by purchasing a new truck for him to drive, claiming he would make the monthly payments. He has not paid for the truck or the insurance, and he has accumulated more than $2,000 in parking tickets, all in the name of his older victim. Additionally, the younger man offered to “help” his neighbor rent out his basement apartment and told the 81-year-old that the income from tenants would help to pay his mortgage. Instead, he identified himself as the landlord in the lease, directed his elderly neighbors’ tenants to pay rent to his company, and kept the money for himself. Because he was not receiving any rental income, the senior had to dip into his retirement savings to keep paying his mortgage. OAG is seeking restitution for the senior who was exploited as well as injunctive relief and penalties.

When elders or vulnerable adults are abused, they may be reluctant to report because of fear of retaliation, lack of physical or cognitive ability to report the abuse, or because they do not want to get the alleged abuser in trouble. Residents can help protect their loved ones and neighbors by learning how to detect, prevent, and report abuse. Click here to learn about potential warning signs and actions to take to help prevent elder abuse.

If you are a or know a District senior or vulnerable adult experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, immediately get help by: 

  • Filing a report with Adult Protective Services (APS) by calling the 24-hour hotline at (202) 541-3950.   
  • Filing a police report with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) by calling the police at (202) 265-9100.   
  • Contacting OAG’s Elder Justice Section at (202) 727-3807 or