About Cathy Schottenstein

The Systematic Abuse of Britney Spears:

How the Legal System Allowed a Criminal Family to Seize Control of One Woman’s Life

britney spearsThe New Yorker recently published a comprehensive article entitled “Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare” chronicling how the pop star’s father and a team of lawyers seized control of her life, her career, and her finances—and held onto that control for well over a decade. Spears, thirty-nine, has spent the past thirteen years living under a conservatorship, “a legal structure,” The New Yorker defines “in which a person’s personal, economic, and legal decision-making power is ceded to others.” Commonly called a guardianship, the arrangement is intended for people who cannot take care of themselves.

The conservatorship was instituted by Spears’s family—in part out of real concerns for her mental health, people close to the family told The New Yorker. But the family was divided by money and fame, and Spears was ultimately stripped of her rights to such an extent that she recently called 911 to report herself as a victim of conservatorship abuse and alleged in public court that one of her most basic rights—her reproductive freedom—had been taken away. (You can find a link to The New Yorker article at the bottom of this blog.)*

Conservatorships can protect people who are elderly, or who live with severe disabilities or debilitating mental illness. But The New Yorker points out that there is also a wide range of alternatives to conservatorship that are less strict than what Spears has experienced, such as conditional powers of attorney or formal shared control of finances.

By outward appearance, since the establishment of Spears’s conservatorship, the pop star’s career has never been better. According to the article, she has released four albums, headlined a global tour that grossed a hundred and thirty-one million dollars, and performed for four years in a hit Las Vegas residency. Yet during this time her conservators have controlled all her spending, communications, and personal decisions, and most of her family members (including both her parents) receive an annual salary from the pop star as part of the conservatorship.

This past April, Spears requested a hearing, in open court, to discuss the terms of her conservatorship arrangement. Before the hearing, members of Spears’s team, most of whom have had little or no direct contact with her for years (despite being on her payroll), didn’t expect drastic changes to result. On June 23rd that sentiment quickly changed as she began her searing testimony.

For twenty-three minutes over the phone, Spears described in shocking detail how she had been “isolated, medicated, financially exploited, and emotionally abused.” She blamed the California legal system, which she said let it all happen. She added that she had tried to complain to the court before but had been ignored, which made her “feel like I was dead,” she said—“like I didn’t matter.” She wanted to share her story publicly, she said, “instead of it being a hush-hush secret to benefit all of them.” She added, “It concerns me I’ve been told I’m not allowed to expose the people who did this to me.” At one point, she told the court, “All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and for my boyfriend to drive me in his fucking car.” Read more

Beverley Schottenstein

Psychology of Aging – Interview with Cathy Schottenstein Pattap

center for mental health and aging
Elder Financial Abuse by Family Members: Schottenstein Family Story


Listen to the entire podcast here. (#6 in podcast list.)

About Cathy Schottenstein

Protecting Elders from Abuse is a Global Problem

Beverley Schottenstein-Protecting Elders from Abuse“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” Mahatma Gandhi made that statement in the early 1900s, right at the start of the 20th Century. Who are those most vulnerable members? Certainly, they include children, the mentally and physically disabled, and our aged population. Today, 21 years into the 21st Century, Gandhi’s words come back to haunt us as we enter World Elder Abuse Month this June. A decade ago, The United Nations designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to raise mindfulness and knowledge of elder abuse and the various forms it can manifest which include financial, emotional, and physical abuse.

Experts have identified seven types of elder abuse to watch out for: physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, neglect, abandonment, financial abuse, and self-neglect. Financial abuse strikes a particular nerve with me since that is what happened to my 94-year-old grandmother Beverley Schottenstein. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elders are more willing to self-report financial exploitation than other forms of abuse. They are often fearful to report physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect due to the possibility of being harmed. Most elder abuse victims are dependent on their abusers to meet their basic needs, placing the abused in an extremely vulnerable position, fearful of retaliation. Like what happened to my grandmother, most acts of abuse are committed by family members (40% adult children, 15% spouse, 38% other family members). In fact, only 7% of elder abuse cases are committed by non-family members. Read more

Beverley Schottenstein

VIDEO: At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan and Her Grandsons

Bloomberg Watch Article

Video courtesy of Bloomberg News

Beverley Schottenstein

The Grandmother Who Won Her Elder Fraud Case Against Her Grandsons

forbes

by Richard Eisenberg – May 28, 2021

Read the article on forbes.com

‘Friends Talk Money’ podcast hosts share cautionary advice based on the Beverley Schottenstein story.

elder fraud Beverley schottenstein

Wealthy Beverley Schottenstein won a landmark case against her grandson brokers

The Beverley Schottenstein $80 million elder financial fraud story is one you won’t believe. But, as my “Friends Talk Money” podcast co-hosts and I explained in our two latest episodes, it’s one you need to know about to protect your parents from becoming victims themselves.

Schottenstein, 94, recently won $19 million in her arbitration case against J.P. Morgan Securities and her grandsons Avi and Evan Schottenstein, her brokers there for five years, ostensibly managing her millions. (Schottenstein is matriarch of the family’s Columbus, Ohio retail dynasty, whose stores included Value City and American Eagle Outfitters AEO -1.5%.)

Problem is, the grandsons wouldn’t tell their grandmother what stocks they were buying and selling. They made hundreds of transactions this way, Schottenstein said. Read more

About Cathy Schottenstein

Behind the scenes: What it was like to work with Bloomberg News

When journalist Tom Schoenberg, a longtime reporter for Bloomberg News, was contacted by a family friend about my grandma’s upcoming trial against her grandsons Evan and Avi and their former employer J.P. Morgan, he reached out to better understand the dynamics of the legal proceedings.

My first call with Tom took place on October 9, 2020, just one week before Nanny’s FINRA trial was set to begin. It was a conference call, with Tom in Washington D.C., me in New Jersey, and Nanny in Florida. My grandma’s devoted live-in aide Dawn Henry also participated on the sidelines as Nanny spoke, occasionally chiming in to remind her of certain key dates and facts.

I didn’t know it then, but that first hour-long conversation with Tom would be the beginning of a five-months-long working relationship with Bloomberg News. It was a rich and eye-opening experience that has made me even more respectful of professional journalism, and particularly of Tom and of Bloomberg News—the outlet’s careful evaluation of all sides, the integrity and fairness in their final reporting, and once the story was out, their astonishing global reach. Read more

About Cathy Schottenstein

Isolation and Loneliness Among Elder Americans Must Be Addressed

Elder Abuse Loneliness

Bette Davis famously said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” In fact, she had that phrase embroidered on a pillow. And the actress knew what she was talking about. After a celebrated career and multiple Academy Awards, her later years were marred by illness: recurrent breast cancer and then a stroke that distorted her face. She died, alone and far from home at age 81, alienated from her eldest child.

Compared to the famous actress, my grandmother led a charmed life. Beverley Schottenstein and her husband Alvin raised their four children in the quiet tree-lined suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. Though part of a wealthy and influential family, Beverley always kept a low profile. She never took her good fortune for-granted and worked hard to set an example for others. She was a philanthropist who generously contributed to numerous causes and doted on members of her close-knit family. Read more

Beverley Schottenstein

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons

Bloomberg Watch Article
By Tom Schoenberg – February 17, 2021

Read the article on Bloomberg.com

Click here to listen to the companion
audio file for the Bloomberg article.

Beverley Schottenstein said two grandsons who managed her money at JPMorgan forged documents, ran up commissions with inappropriate trading and made her miss tens of millions of dollars in gains. So she decided to teach them all a lesson.

Beverley Schottenstein

Beverley Schottenstein with her grandsons Avi, left, and Evan, right, from a family photograph.
Source: Courtesy Beverley Schottenstein

Beverley Schottenstein was 93 years old when she decided to go to war with the biggest bank in the U.S.

It was a June day, and the Atlantic shimmered beyond the balcony of her Florida condominium. Beverley studied an independent review of her accounts as family and lawyers gathered around a table and listened in by phone. The document confirmed her worst fears: Her two financial advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who oversaw more than $80 million for her, had run up big commissions putting her money in risky investments they weren’t telling her about. It was the latest red flag about the bankers. There had been missing account statements. Document shredding. Unexplained credit-card charges.

Although some relatives urged Beverley not to make waves, she was resolute. What the money managers did was wrong, she told the group. They needed to pay, she said. Even though they were her own grandsons.

And pay they did. With the help of her lawyers, Beverley dragged her grandsons and JPMorgan in front of arbitrators from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra. She sought as much as $69 million. After testimony that spread over months and ended in January, the panel issued a swift decision in Beverley’s favor. Read more

Beverley Schottenstein

Ex-JPMorgan Broker Accused of Bilking Grandma Gets Trading Ban

Bloomberg Watch Article

By Tom Schoenberg
April 13, 2021, 4:44 PM EDT

Read the article on Bloomberg.com

Evan Schottenstein refused to comply with watchdog probe.

Adviser allegedly ripped off his wealthy grandma for fees.

A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. financial adviser accused of trading his wealthy grandmother’s assets without her knowledge has been barred from working as a broker by the industry’s watchdog, according to information on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website.

Evan Schottenstein, without admitting or denying the findings, agreed to the sanction after Finra concluded he wasn’t complying with its investigation into whether he committed misconduct while managing about $80 million for Beverley Schottenstein when she was a client of JPMorgan for nearly five years.

He refused to provide on-the-record testimony to Finra investigators, according to an April 7 addition to his broker report.

Schottenstein and his younger brother Avi were dismissed from JPMorgan in 2019 after their grandmother accused them and the bank of putting her money in risky investments without her knowledge so they could charge high fees and commissions. She also said her name had been forged on financial documents. She brought an arbitration case against them seeking as much as $69 million in damages.

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan and Her Own Grandsons (and Won)

In February, an arbitration panel ruled in her favor, finding the brothers and the bank’s J.P. Morgan Securities LLC unit liable for abusing their fiduciary duty and making fraudulent misrepresentations. The arbitrators also found the bank and Evan Schottenstein liable for elder abuse. Read more

Beverley Schottenstein

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons

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Feb 17, 2021

View the video and article on flipboard.com

Beverley Schottenstein videoBeverley Schottenstein said two grandsons who managed her money at JPMorgan Chase & Co. forged documents, ran up commissions with inappropriate trading and made her miss tens of millions of dollars in gains. So she decided to teach them all a lesson. View this video by clicking the image to the left or the link above.