Watch: Man Confronted About Alleged Elder Abuse

He reportedly drops his wheelchair-bound mother off in Orange County shopping centers to panhandle all day and night.

If you’ve ever been walking around shopping centers in downtown Laguna Beach or Irvine within the past few years, you may have seen her: an elderly, wheelchair-bound, Asian woman usually parked outside Scandia Bakery, asking for help and spare change from people passing by.

But what you probably didn’t see is the man in the Prius who reportedly drops her off, leaves her to beg for a few hours, then picks her up and drives away.

The pair, a mother and son who reportedly live in Irvine, have also been seen doing this at the University Town Center near UC Irvine. In December, a YouTube user named Sam Wilson was curious about the woman, so he armed himself with a video camera and confronted the man as he loaded her into his car after a hard day of begging.

As you can see on the video we're posting here, an angry confrontation ensues, as the man whips out a camcorder of his own and begins accusing Wilson of working for Wells Fargo Bank, then threatens to sue him.

"Are you paid to do this?" the man yells. "Are you paid by Wells Fargo Bank? You're paid! You’re a paid stooge! You're stalking her! I want to make an arrest!"

According to Wilson’s post accompanying his video, the woman’s name is Cathy, and she claims to be homeless. Reports from witnesses on this Reddit page claim the two have been doing this for years.

In 2011, UC Irvine student Thanh Truong Le wrote this blog post about an encounter he had with Cathy and the man. In the post, Cathy claims the Mafia is trying to poison her. Le also describes witnessing another shouting match between some well-meaning Samaritans and her son. This time, he says his mother is the victim of mortgage fraud, explains they came from North Korea, and says "this country is even worse than North Korea! That’s why my mother needs to gather donations. Because the government—the banks—stole everything."

Sgt. Louise Callus of the Laguna Beach Police Department tells Patch authorities know about the situation and have “contacted Orange County Adult Protective Services several times. … There is no violation of the law for the panhandling and she does not believe she is being victimized.”

Michael Burns, a social worker with Orange County Adult Protective Services, tells Patch the agency is familiar with the case, and says it is “being actively investigated. We are aware, and we are pursuing it.” Confidentiality laws prevent the agency from releasing any other information, Burns says.

Have you seen or spoken with either Cathy or her son? What do you think? Tell us in the comments below ...

And if you suspect any cases of elder abuse in Orange County, contact Adult Protective Services at 800-451-5155.

JustUs February 01, 2013 at 12:36 AM
So Cathy and her son have allegedly been doing this "for years" and this continues? That seemingly tells me that no one is breaking the law. We have no idea what goes on here. On it's face would it seem distasteful to many that a son would allegedly drop his mom off to panhandle? Sure, I could understand that. But all of us humans have different cultures and habits. Some people like carrots, other people like broccoli, some people hate both. I didn't read anything about Cathy resisting the son in any way. She voluntarily gets in and out of the car, right?I would certainly like to hear their side of this story. And the panhandling business must be profitable - otherwise I doubt they would engage in it. Yeah, weird story for sure. When my mom was alive if I ever dropped her off to beg on the street she would punch me right in the nose. In fact, she would've probably thrown me out of the car and driven away. But whatever. Who ever accused life of not being strange?
Sydney Clark February 01, 2013 at 03:40 AM
The first problem with elder abuse is the person who is being abused has to be will to tell the police they are abused. After years of brainwashing the person who has been abused will not believe there is a problem. I tried to rescue my mother from abuse from my step father and could do nothing to intervene. After several years she was almost dead and I got her out of the home to a hospital, where she was given several units of blood, antibiotics, fluids and surgery to her bed sores that went down to her bones. This all took place while under the care of an MD. The laws need to be changed so family members have the right to protect their loved ones. Many of elderly are not capable of seeing how they should be living day to day. I hope things will change.
Joker Joe February 01, 2013 at 04:13 PM
The man said, "That’s why my mother needs to gather donations. Because the government—the banks—stole everything." Tell him to contact Obama and find out why no one was prosecuted for the banks stealing everything! Then let me know. 4 more years.
JustUs February 01, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Good point, Bill. Obama has carried Wall Street's water for the last 4 years. But the dems are very quiet about that and many other activities that Obama has engaged in. It just goes to show how phony the entire political system is....from the pols to the voters. All of it is based on a lie. Really sad for a once great nation. But the way the government is handing out free money these days there is really no reason to panhandle unless this lady and her son are saving up for a trip to Hawaii or something. We have 47 million on food stamps (1 of every 6 people) and in California we have 33% of the nation's welfare population with only 12% of the nation's population. So we are the welfare king and queen capital of the country. And that's where the incentives are today - to jump aboard the free cheese wagon. And Americans love incentive. If there's a bargain or a great deal to be had - the average American will find it. And if they are giving away free stuff - what could be better than that! You should think about grabbing some while there's still some left!
Elizabeth February 02, 2013 at 08:23 AM
I doubt they came from North Korea, but regardless of where they came from, if the U.S. is worse than where they came from like they said, they should go back! I'll gladly pitch in a few bucks towards that!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »