true life stories

Broke Aussie gran: My daughter took $300,000

Monday, January 7, 2013
Broke Aussie gran: My daughter took $300,000
When I asked Kim for the money back, she refused point-blank.

A distraught grandmother says her daughter has siphoned her bank accounts to build luxury villas in Fiji.

Queensland great-great gran Mary Douglas-Crandley cringes with embarrassment at the prospect of disclosing her family’s sordid secret. But heartbroken pensioner Mary, 82, is swallowing her pride to warn others of the perils of power of attorney privileges. Mary wants readers to know that even if a legally appointed “attorney” thinks they’re acting in your best interests, it may backfire with disastrous results.

She alleges that her estranged daughter Kim Wind, 60, abused her trust to the tune of $300,000 – and now she fears she won’t get a cent of it back. Mary had assigned emergency control of her finances to Kim years ago, then locked the paperwork away in her writing cabinet, not giving it any more thought.

In March last year, Mary’s second husband John – Kim’s stepfather – died, and Kim moved in with her mother. Their relationship soon broke down, and just a few weeks after John’s death, Mary underwent major heart surgery. It was only when a hospital social worker asked Mary if she had someone to handle her affairs that she remembered the legally binding document giving power of attorney to her daughter.

At that frightful moment, she realised just how vulnerable she was. Mary immediately tried to revoke Kim’s control of her cash – but it was already too late. She alleges that Kim stole the paperwork from her writing cabinet two days earlier and bolted to Fiji with Mary’s life-savings, including term deposits of $190,000, and a series of unauthorised ATM withdrawals from John’s bankcard. “When I asked Kim for the money back, she refused point-blank,” says Mary.

Read more about Mary's difficult situation in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday January 7, 2013.

Realted video: License to steal.

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