Former Ice Skater with Dementia Makes Unexplained Donations

Susan Strong Davis, an 87 year old widow suffering from dementia, lives in Palos Verdes Estates in California.  She is tended regularly by nurse’s aids as her dementia is so far progressed as to prevent her from caring for herself or making decisions on her own behalf.  However, apparently some decisions ARE being made on her behalf, decisions involving large sums of money…

Davis’ funds are held in a trust and are under the care of her longtime financial advisor, John E. Larkin.  Apparently, Larkin has been very busy allocating large amounts of money in Davis’ account to matters that seem in no way connected to Davis.  In fact, “Davis” has apparently purchased land in Beverly Hills and has borrowed millions to build a four-bedroom home with three fireplaces and a pool.  She has also seemingly donated over $600,000 to the Kabbalah Centre.  The Kabbalah Centre is a controversial organization originally brought into public awareness due to Madonna’s devoted membership and her service as the organization’s board chair.  The Kabbahal Center is currently under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for mismanagement of their vast funds.

Davis seems to have no connection with the religion, and her relatives describe her as adamantly non-religious.  In recent visits, David had never mentioned any new religious affiliations, nor that she was, apparently, building a home in Beverly Hills.  If she were lucid enough to oversee these transactions, it seems unlikely that she would not mention such life-changing events to visiting loved ones.

Larkin on the other hand is highly involved with the Kabbalah Centre and has been a devout member since the early 2000s.  In fact, Larkin was also put in charge of the organization’s finances.  Considering the IRS investigation regarding the use of those finances, he may be handling their funds in a similar manner to Davis’.

As far as the Beverly Hills home is concerned, this is ironically (or not so ironically) located right by the Kabbalah Centre and is only a block from Larkin’s current home.  It also features a kosher kitchen, even though Davis is not Jewish…but Larkin is!  Another concern is that the home is built on a lot previously owned by Larkin and sold to Davis at a substantial profit over what Larkin originally paid for it, even in a depreciated market.  This all has occurred to a woman whose dementia prohibits her from functioning properly or making vital decisions.

While Larkin is under investigation for his actions, he has yet to be charged with a crime.  However, it seems clear that he has mismanaged Davis’ assets for his own personal gain.    A sad example of financial elder abuse.

It is tragic, but we see it happen far too often where the elderly are taken advantage of, especially those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Make certain you assign trustworthy individuals to manage your affairs on your behalf.  We never know when the time may come that we are left incapacitated.  For this reason, it is imperative to plan today for whatever tomorrow may hold.

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This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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