Over the last few months, the media has been covering my grandmother’s court case against her two grandsons, Evan and Avi Schottenstein, for massive financial fraud. After over two years since the initial discovery, they, along with J.P. Morgan, were found liable for misappropriating tens of millions of dollars of her money. Together, they were ordered to restore over $19 million to my grandmother. But something else happened in that courtroom that is far more important than any amount of money. The three presiding arbitrators described her experience as a clear case of “elder abuse.”
In a cruel attempt to excuse their criminal activities, Evan and Avi tried to paint my lovely, always meticulously groomed, sharp-as-a-whip grandmother as a liar who suffers from dementia. I was with her throughout this entire journey, and I felt her anguish, sleepless nights, stress that resulted in hair loss, loss of appetite, and other side effects including the anguish that came from having to weather the slanderous lies her grandsons fabricated. These were the heartbreaking results following Nanny’s refusal to let Evan and Avi “off the hook” for the sake of the family name and reputation, as some urged her to do.
Though none of Evan and Avi’s accusations about Nanny were true, the irony is, if they had simply come clean, she would have forgiven them. They did not need to lie or cheat or steal. They just needed to level with her and treat her with the dignity she deserved. She trusted them, and they took advantage of her. No senior deserves this treatment—especially not from one’s own flesh and blood. Read more