Power of attorney for woman with dementia sold her Iowa home and gambled, feds say; Tony Freeman, Rose Law Group senior counsel who handles asset protection and estate planning, comments

By Kaitlyn Alanis | Kansas City Star

The power of attorney for a woman with dementia stole the Iowa woman’s money and used it to gamble and buy her own house, according to federal authorities.

Shanan Smith, 56, from Waterloo, Iowa, was recently sentenced to more than three years in prison, authorities said in a Dec. 16 news release. She was also ordered to pay $51,000 in restitution to the woman’s relatives. 

Smith was appointed at the woman’s power of attorney in 2009, about four years after the woman began showing signs of dementia, according to court records. As the power of attorney, she had legal authorization over the woman’s affairs and was not allowed any compensation. 

Starting in July 2012 — about three months before the woman was admitted into a nursing home with severe dementia — Smith began defrauding her, prosecutors said. From then until about November 2017, authorities said Smith schemed the woman out of at least $54,018. The woman died in March 2019. 

The defense attorney representing Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on Dec. 19.


“A power of attorney is an important tool in estate planning. When someone becomes incapacitated, a power of attorney can be of significant benefit by allowing a third party to pay bills and provide care for the incapacitated person. Unfortunately, when that power is placed in the wrong hands, bad things can happen. As this story shows, a power of attorney is very powerful and can give the wrong person unfettered access to your assets while you are incapacitated and incapable of stopping them. You and your loved ones should choose carefully when granting these types of control.”

Tony Freeman, Rose Law Group senior counsel

Share this!

Additional Articles

Get Our Twice Weekly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Rose Law Group pc values “outrageous client service.” We pride ourselves on hyper-responsiveness to our clients’ needs and an extraordinary record of success in achieving our clients’ goals. We know we get results and our list of outstanding clients speaks to the quality of our work.

News Categories
December 2022