So the I Spy saga continues.
To refresh your memory, my friend Kate’s brother, John, has dementia. He lives at a retirement community where another resident, Bernice, aka The Vulture, is after his life savings.
Bernice, we suspect, is a career elder abuse criminal who latches onto lonely, wealthy gentlemen to bilk them from their riches before finding her next victim. In other words, she’s a real gem.
Last week Kate took Bernice to court. Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t let her go alone. I accompanied her for moral support but also to leer at this despicable human being. But since I’m not adept at leering, I decided to first practice in my bathroom mirror. I attempted to look disgusted while conveying a demeanor of, hey lady, you better back off or you’ll regret it. Which conveys that to you?
At the Civic Center we sat outside the courtroom waiting for Bernice to make her grand entrance, which she did at the last minute. Kate and I stared at her but she refused to look our way; a wise move. I’d say this wasn’t her first rodeo.
During the hearing, The Vulture did her best to look as innocent as possible while wearing a Covid mask. If she were allowed to wear sunglasses in court, she would have. She hid in the last row and whenever Kate and I turned to look at her, she turned away. Is that a sign of an innocent woman?
When Kate and Bernice were called forward with their attorneys, they raised their right hand and swore to tell the truth. I tell ya, it was so hard for me not to burst out laughing, as the truth and Bernice are essentially strangers.
You know those paintings of kids with big eyes? That’s what Bernice tried in court, I assume in order to look innocent. With a little tilt of her head and I’m guessing pouty lips behind her mask, she probably figured she wouldn’t be punished for her attempt to embezzle John’s money. I wanted to throw up. Or slap her. But mostly slap her.
The bank employees who witnessed Bernice’s attempts to withdraw John’s entire bank account didn’t need to appear in court, nor did the retirement home social worker because the judgment was a permanent restraining order against her. Should she ever have contact with John again, she’ll end up in jail. I admit I kind of hope she tries because jail is where she belongs.
Walking with Kate and her lawyer to our cars, Kate’s lawyer (who specializes in elder law) told us some horrific cases she’s handled where seniors struggling with dementia were taken advantage of to the tune of multi-millions of dollars. There are leeches everywhere, it seems. In Bernice’s case, because she failed at her attempt, she wasn’t punished.
Then, as we exited the building, we saw Bernice waiting for an Uber. When she saw us, she quickly turned her back, pretending to be on the phone. This was my chance to show her the disgusted face I’d perfected in the mirror (sort of). So we rushed to the car.
Our plan: As Kate stopped alongside her, I’d lower my window and simply say, “Shame on you, Bernice. You’re not fooling anyone. We know what you are.” Personally, I think that’s rather tame compared to what I really wanted to say. But when we reached the corner, she was gone.
At least John’s money is safe. And as expected, Bernice has already moved on to her next victim who may not have an advocate like Kate to protect him from people like her. Like I said, she’s a despicable human being.
Well said, Janet.
Movie on Netflix about just this topic; I Care A Lot.