Cobb widow taken for millions sparks debate over elder abuse

(ajc.com) 

COBB COUNTY, Ga -- By the time help arrived, those who Frances Perkins entrusted with her health and financial security had inflicted significant harm on the Marietta widow.

She lived in squalor with dead rats in her home, suffered from dementia and was caught between her two daughters’ estranged relationship, far removed from the days of operating a country general store and gas station with her husband, Charles, in East Cobb.

Over a lifetime, Perkins amassed wealth from family real estate investments and, after her husband died in 1992, she lived frugally by habits forged growing up during the Great Depression, spending little from her nest egg of millions.

That life changed in September 2011 when, just days shy of her 90th birthday and in early stages of dementia, Perkins signed over financial power of attorney to a man who just a couple years before had been a total stranger.

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