More than three years after suspicions were raised about an attorney who failed to pay for the long-term care for a 92-year-old woman and her disabled and dependent son, the 83-year-old Daly City resident who once served as the mother and son’s power of attorney was sentenced to four years in state prison on convictions of felony elder fiscal abuse and one count of insurance fraud.
In delivering Albert Boasberg’s sentence Friday, Judge Stephanie Garratt said she felt heartbroken for the male victim, who is in his 60s and living at the Burlingame Long Term Care Center, and the life he will live after someone he considered a close friend squandered funds his mother saved for his care.
Acting as the financial and medical power of attorney for the elderly woman, who is living with dementia at the Marymount Greenhills Retirement Center in Millbrae, as well as her son, Boasberg is said to have embezzled nearly $460,000 from the woman and her son between 2010 and 2014.
Instead of helping the 63-year-old man maintain the level of care he was supposed to receive, Boasberg had him sign over everything he had so the attorney could take trips to Canada and the Philippines and pay off credit card debt he and his wife accrued, noted Garratt. She added the man could not later offer an explanation as to why he would cede his assets to Boasberg to his own detriment and did not understand what was going on at the time.
Having attempted to end his life in August, the man who once considered Boasberg a friend will now likely never leave the care facility because the attorney acted in his own self-interest, she noted.
“This person is living in hell and probably will for the rest of his life,” she said. “It comes down to greed and that’s all it is.”
Boasberg is believed to have filled out 12 life insurance applications using false information about the man’s medical history and listing himself as the beneficiary. He also allegedly stole some $17,000 from the man’s mother over the course of four years and used the funds he took for personal reasons, including diversion of some $100,000 to his wife’s home country, the Philippines, and luxury vacations in Las Vegas, prosecutors said previously.
The thefts were discovered when both facilities, where the victims receive 24-hour care, reported his failure to make monthly payments for their care to the county Health System’s Adult Protective Services, which resulted in his removal as the victims’ power of attorney in 2015. The county’s Public Guardian has been the victims’ conservator after Boasberg was removed as their attorney, according to prosecutors previously.
Released on his own recognizance after his July 10 plea deal, Boasberg was given an opportunity to make progress on the restitution he would owe the victims, noted Deputy District Attorney Kristin Nimau. But he was remanded back into custody in August after it was discovered he violated a condition of his release from custody by practicing law with elderly clients and had surrendered an expired passport instead of a valid one.
Boasberg faced a three-year prison term when he pleaded to his charges in July, and his defense attorney Adam Gasner asked Garratt to consider the maximum sentence once set for his client just before he was sentenced Friday. Gasner acknowledged the egregious nature of his client’s actions, and noted Boasberg is remorseful for his behavior with regard to the victims as well as in violating the terms of his release earlier this year, when he was winding down his legal practice.
Having taken on several pro bono cases in his 60 years as a lawyer in California, Boasberg is a man of advanced aging with non-violent convictions and who is committed to making the victims whole again, said Gasner, who noted several character letters had been submitted on behalf of his client. At 83 years old, Boasberg is a first-time offender likely to suffer physically in a prison environment, where he will serve his sentence those who have committed serious, violent crimes and been in and out of prison, he said.
“He took advantage of a position of trust with a client and friend,” he said. “The reality is there is a totality here and there are other characteristics of the defendant that shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Nimau said Boasberg’s actions left the victim in a depressive state and with few options for his required 24-hour care, noting Boasberg squandered the opportunity to return some of the funds he stole from him. In advocating for a four-year prison sentence, Nimau underscored the permanence of Boasberg’s actions.
“The financial harm Mr. Boasberg has inflicted on both victims in this case is irreparable,” she said. “They will live with this harm for the rest of their lives.”
Boasberg, who will receive 376 days credit for time served, said he was sorry and remorseful for his actions and appeared to wince when Garratt rebuked him for living the high life with his wife at the expense of the victims, to whom he is expected to pay $456,782 in restitution.
“It may be non-violent but it certainly isn’t non-serious,” said Garratt. “The level of greed here is disgusting.”
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