For fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, today is a banner day: it’s the day when the long-awaited Avengers: Infinity War, makes its debut in theaters across the U.S.
And, just like in all of the previous Marvel films, legendary comic creator Stan Lee will make a cameo in the movie—something that fans always look forward to.
But right now Lee—the beloved creator of countless superheroes, including the X-Men, Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Star Lord and many others—may be in need of a superhero himself.
In a new lawsuit filed on April 13, 2018, at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Lee states he is suing his former business manager for fraud and elder abuse. According to Newsweek, the 95-year-old Lee claims he became the target of “unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists” in late 2017, while he was grieving the loss of his wife of 70 years.
How does a man who is reportedly worth $50 million become a victim of financial abuse? Just like countless others, he was taken advantage of at a critical time in his life.
The lawsuit alleges that during Lee’s period of mourning, Jerardo Olivarez, his daughter’s former business associate, convinced Lee into signing power of attorney over to him, then transferred $4.6 million out of Lee’s bank account without permission. Additional monies from Lee’s account were used to purchase Olivarez a West Hollywood condo. Olivarez also allegedly fired Lee’s long-time banker and attorney.
The lawsuit also alleges that Olivarez transferred $4.6 million out of the comics creator’s bank account without permission, and that Lee unknowingly bought Olivarez a $850,000 West Hollywood condo, plus $1.4 million was transferred from Lee’s accounts directly to Olivarez’s.
Lee alleges he was manipulated into donating $300,000 to a made-up charity called the Hands of Respect (H.O.R) in Olivarez’s name. According to Deadline, the company, which Olivarez billed as non-profit organization, is registered as a for-profit merchandising company.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to become a victim of elder financial abuse; according to the National Council on Aging, approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse, yet these cases are seldom reported. One study estimates that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
Don’t let yourself or a loved one become a victim of financial elder abuse; make sure to hire a licensed professional fiduciary. These professionals work with clients who may be vulnerable to abuse or financial exploitation due to mental or physical impairments. In California, fiduciaries are licensed by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau. Before you hire a fiduciary, go through this checklist from the bureau, and, even more important, if you think that someone is a victim, report it!
Because, as Stan Lee knows, even though #ThanosDemandsYourSilence when it comes to Infinity War spoilers, there are some things you just need to speak up about.