Our Stories

A Grandmother Risks Losing Her Home

Eloise McNerney is an 83-year-old mother of five children and four foster children, who has owned her home for 45 years. In 2005, her grandson coerced her into signing documents authorizing a $200,000 home equity line of credit. The grandson also had her open a joint account, looted the funds, and funneled them through shell entities and business associates. When the money ran out, the grandson coerced Ms. McNerney into initiating three additional bank loan applications for a total of $510,000. Remarkably, the bank approved each loan, despite clear evidence that Ms. McNerney could never afford to repay them. When the grandson failed to make payments, the bank began foreclosure proceedings.

 Eloise's former foster care son contacted Public Counsel for help. Attorneys from Irell & Manella LLP agreed to take the case and worked with Public Counsel to reach a standstill agreement with the bank. Civil actions in California and Arizona were filed against the individuals involved in the fraud. Ms. McNerney's grandson was arrested, ultimately pled guilty to two counts of felony financial elder abuse, and agreed to pay almost all of the outstanding debt plus interest. Perhaps most importantly, a comprehensive settlement is being finalized with the lender to ensure that Ms. McNerney can remain in her home with sufficient resources to enjoy in her twilight years.