Reports are hitting the headlines almost every week of carers who rip off the elderly. We believe it is time to introduce polygraph services for carers into the pre-employment process. This would not only protect the elderly but also the vast majority of carers who do an excellent job. In the past year we have seen a sad upturn in family members coming to us ordering tests for people they believe have stolen money and items from an elderly relative.  The following case study, when we conducted an Athlone lie detector test demonstrates the need for action perfectly.

Emma’s story

Emma was concerned about her grandmother, Mary who was suffering from Alzheimers. She’d had a carer Kathy; living in for over a year and Emma couldn’t fault the standard of care at all.  However, on one visit Mary was very disturbed because she couldn’t find an emerald ring that had been given to her by her late husband.  Emma looked in all the normal places and couldn’t find it. She asked Kathy if she knew where it was.  She didn’t but helped Emma to look for it with no success.  She said perhaps it had been dropped behind a sofa and would keep an eye out for it when she did the cleaning.

As time progressed more items went missing. Other members of the family visited Mary and Emma began to suspect that one of them might be stealing things. Jewellery, valuable ornaments and paintings disappeared with no trace.  Emma called a family meeting at her house and tempers flared.  Seamus, Emma’s brother was the prime suspect.  He was the black sheep of the family and was prone to the odd nefarious activity.  Emphatically denying all culpability, Seamus exploded and said he would take an Athlone lie detector test.  He’d seen it advertised recently and that would put an end to all the accusations.  However, after he had passed it he wanted the whole lot of them to take one too.

Athlone lie detector test

Seamus was very hurt that he’d been accused of theft by his own family.  How could they believe he would steal from his grandmother?  He booked the test online and arranged to take it the following day.

The polygraph examiner was sympathetic, making it clear that polygraph tests exist to prove innocence. Seamus was surprised to learn that the examiner was a specialist in the field of lie detector tests related to false accusations.   It must happen a lot then, he thought.

There was a pre-test interview where Seamus was able to go through the questions that would be asked.  The entire process including the test lasted around two hours and the examiner got to know Seamus very well.

The following day, the results came through and Seamus was exonerated.  He arranged to make the test results available to all members of his family.

On the same day, they all gathered at Emma’s house and everyone was extremely apologetic toward Seamus. They discussed the possibility of them all taking tests but there were so many of them.

Was the carer responsible for the theft?

Having debated the issue, Seamus suggested the carer should take a test. Many family members were reluctant to ask Kathy to take a test because they trusted her.  Perhaps she would be offended and they might lose her. With their busy lives and work none of them had the time to provide full time care for their grandmother.

Emma said that she would ask Kathy because after all, if she had nothing to hide she wouldn’t mind taking a test surely. She would put it to her that the disappearance of Mary’s possessions had caused trouble within the family with everyone accusing each other.  She’d say that everyone concerned was taking an Athlone lie detector test. Since it was the nearest location to her grandmother’s home would Kathy take one too, because it would eliminate her from suspicion?

It was agreed that Emma would tactfully broach the subject.

Kathy disappears

Emma arranged the test for Kathy and spoke to her about it on her next visit.  Kathy was very flustered and talked a lot about trust.  Hadn’t she looked after Mary well?  How could the family not trust her?

She was reassured by Emma that it wasn’t a case of not trusting her.  They just needed to eliminate everyone before calling the police.

Kathy agreed to take the Athlone lie detector test but was worried about who would take care of Mary in her absence.  Emma said she would take time off work to do that.

On the day of the test Emma turned up and Kathy set off to Athlone.  An hour later the Athlone lie detector test examiner called to say Kathy hadn’t arrived.  Emma called Kathy’s mobile but it wasn’t answered.  She left several messages and texts over the next hour.  She was concerned that perhaps Kathy might have had an accident.

5 hours later, Kathy still hadn’t responded.

The truth emerges

The following day, it became evident that Kathy wasn’t coming back. It transpired that not only had she stolen the missing items but also several thousands of pounds from Mary’s bank account. Mary now has a new carer and Emma made sure that the Athlone lie detector test formed part of the pre-employment screening process.  The results from the polygraph test gave her invaluable information about the character of the new carer. Something she could never derive from a CV or background check.

If you are concerned that your elderly relative is vulnerable to theft, contact us today to find out how our polygraph services can help.

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