Dementia Patient Alleges $750,000 Stolen by Lincoln Park Nursing Home

Theft Lawsuit at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park

Nursing Home Residents Easy Targets for Theft

Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert continues to advocate on the behalf of Grace Watanabe, age 99, regarding a lawsuit filed against Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park for their failure to report theft of Watanabe’s money to the proper authorities. The suit alleges that several employees of the facility are responsible for the theft of approximately $750,000 from Watanabe’s accounts, which was used to purchase travel and vacations, fast food, and jewelry. The money was allegedly stolen by using Watanabe’s ATM card without her consent and via forging checks from her account. Golbert contends that the facility was aware of the theft but failed to contact the appropriate authorities or otherwise stop the behavior.  This abusive and negligent behavior is slickening and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Sadly, Nursing Home Residents Suffer Financial Exploitation Far Too Often

A dementia patient at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, which is part of the Symphony Care Network, Grace Watanabe has no living relatives and has already faced several challenges in her life—including internment in the Poston internment camp from 1942 to 1946 during World War II. As Symphony’s alleged abuse came to light, Golbert transferred Watanabe to a different nursing home while awaiting the results of the lawsuit.

As of Nov 11, 2020, Symphony Residences is pushing back against the case, seeking to bar Golbert from speaking with the media regarding the incident. The owners of the nursing home claim that Golbert’s communications with reporters could have a negative impact on the bias of a pool of jurors. The motion to halt Golbert’s communications stems from a story published in September 2019 in the Chicago Sun-Times that accuses Symphony Residences of intentionally delaying the lawsuit process by failing to acquiesce to depositions.

Corporate Nursing Homes Have Lawyers, So Should Their Residents

The Cook County public guardian expressed concerns regarding Symphony’s owners and their alleged unwillingness to cooperate, claiming that their slow responses are a strategic attempt to halt progress while Watanabe, now almost 100 years old, is still alive in hopes that her passing may dissuade Golbert from pursuing the case further. Golbert maintains that Symphony’s executives are engaging in unconstitutional infringements in prohibiting his free speech; however, Natalie Bauer Luce, a spokeswoman for Symphony, asserts that the motion to prevent Golbert’s reports serves to ensure access to an impartial and unbiased jury so that the case may be decided “in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion.”

Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park has seen a dramatic surge in negative reviews and inflammatory comments on the facility’s social media pages, including Google, Yelp!, and Facebook. While the civil lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Watanabe remains pending, she has taken up residence at a different nursing home. A Cook County judge has levied fines against the facility in the amount of $400 per day until they agree to progress the case by speaking during a deposition.

Should Ms. Watanabe pass before the case is resolved, Golbert anticipates that the beneficiaries of her will may step forward to continue the case as complainants. These include Misericordia and Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, who were slated to receive much of the money that Golbert alleges was stolen by the employees at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park. As of November 2020, Ms. Watanabe’s case is still pending in civil court.

Leading the Fight on Behalf of Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents

At Senior Justice Law Firm, we unfortunately see nursing home residents like Grace Watanabe get taken advantage of all too often.  The only way to break the cycle of systemic negligent and abusive behavior against our elderly population is to affect these corporate nursing homes’ bottom line. The team at Senior Justice has helped thousands of families achieve justice against nursing homes and assisted living facilities for injuries like bed sores, falls, and even wrongful death.

If your loved one was a victim of abuse or neglect at a nursing home or suffered an injury in a long-term care facility, please call Senior Justice Law Firm at 888-375-9998 or utilize the chat feature on our website to get in touch with one of our compassionate and experienced Chicago nursing home attorneys today.

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