Elderly Citizens Sue JPMorgan Chase Bank in Both Los Angeles County Superior Court and San Mateo County Superior Courts for Facilitating Theft of Life Savings

The Lawsuits Allege That Chase Bank Committed Elder Abuse by Facilitating the Theft of Plaintiffs' Life Savings Through "Pig Butchering" and Fake IRS Agent Scams

Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy (“CPM”) is representing elderly citizens Diane Artemis Yaffe, age 76, of San Mateo County, and Alice Lin, age 80, of Los Angeles County, who both filed lawsuits seeking to recover damages from JPMorgan Chase Bank for facilitating the fraudulent theft of their life savings of over $2,000,000 (two million dollars) combined from their accounts.

Plaintiff Diane Artemis Yaffe was defrauded of over $1,500,000 (one and a half million dollars) and forced to sell her home and other retirement savings to cover her losses. 

Plaintiff Alice Lin was defrauded of over $720,000, nearly every penny of her retirement savings, leaving her with financial insecurity after decades of saving hard-earned income.

As alleged in both complaints, filed in San Mateo County and Los Angeles County, scammers used "pig butchering" tactics and posed as IRS agents to trick the elderly plaintiffs into sending millions of dollars, often overseas, through multiple fraudulent transactions facilitated by Chase Bank.

These types of scams are going on all over the country and are focused on senior citizens and vulnerable individuals who can be conned by fake IRS agents and other fraudulent schemes that should have been detected by banks. They have become so prevalent that they are a pandemic targeting vulnerable Americans.

According to a government source, “’Pig butchering” scams resemble the practice of fattening a hog before slaughter.  Victims invest in supposedly legitimate … investment opportunities before they are conned out of their money.  Scammers refer to victims as “pigs,” and may leverage fictitious identities, the guise of potential relationships, and elaborate storylines to “fatten up” the victim into believing they are in trusted partnerships before they defraud the victims of their assets—the “butchering.’” New evidence suggests that these scams are in some cases perpetrated by criminal networks in Southeast Asia who use victims of human trafficking to con victims. 

Plaintiff Diane Artemis Yaffe fell victim to an IRS scam, where the scammer posed as an IRS agent and threatened Ms. Yaffe with jail, fines, and more if she did not wire her life savings overseas. It is alleged that Chase facilitated the theft of Ms. Yaffe's life savings through seven wire transfers from four different Chase branches. None of this should have been allowed, knowing the age and banking history of Ms. Yaffe and the suspicious nature of the transfers.

Plaintiff Alice Lin fell victim to a pig-butchering scheme resulting in the loss of nearly three quarters of a million dollars. Chase is alleged to have facilitated this theft by processing seven wire transfers in less than three weeks - transactions that were clearly out of character for the plaintiff, a longtime Chase customer.

Anne Marie Murphy, partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, the law firm representing the Plaintiffs, said, as alleged in the complaints, “Chase has a long history of failing to protect its elderly customers in the face of obvious fraud.” Murphy notes that what is remarkable here is that Chase processed transaction after transaction despite both seniors’ long-standing banking relationship with Chase. She adds that the transactions at issue were entirely out of character for these two elderly women and that Ms. Lin and Ms. Yaffe are just two examples of the many victims of vicious and pervasive elder financial scams that are widespread across the state and nation.  

Blair Kittle of CPM stated that the complaints allege exactly how the financial frauds perpetrated against California's senior citizens are being facilitated by Chase Bank and other banks. According to Kittle, seniors are being scammed out of millions of dollars and left with nothing. California Welfare and Institutions Code § 15610.30 (a)(2) defines financial abuse of an elder to include assisting in the taking of real property of an elder for a wrongful use. Both complaints allege that Chase has assisted scammers in the theft of the plaintiffs' life savings.

Theresa Vitale of CPM's Santa Monica office explained that Big Banks like Chase facilitate predatory schemes that victimize their most vulnerable customers instead of protecting them. California law allows victims like Artemis and Alice to hold banks accountable and recover money tragically stolen from them.

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