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Watch: Man With Laguna Ties Confronted About Alleged Elder Abuse

He reportedly drops his mother off in downtown Laguna Beach to panhandle.

If you’ve ever walked around downtown Laguna Beach in 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.

Laguna Beach Lifer February 01, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Wow, what an A-hole that guy is. His anger and bluster seems like he's trying to go on the offensive because he is doing something wrong and he knows it. Good job by Sam Wilson standing up to him.
Mervyn J Jones February 01, 2013 at 08:08 PM
I've known this for a year or two, seen him drop her off numerous times and pick her up, the wheel chair is a prop. No problem really, at least they are showing some initiative and trying to make ends meet. it's a cruel world, you gotta do what you gotta do! Who are we to judge, til we've walked in their shoes :)
pham February 01, 2013 at 08:19 PM
the authorities are doing nothing, totally lying
pham February 01, 2013 at 08:19 PM
the authorities are doing nothing, totally lying
Rich Kane February 01, 2013 at 08:51 PM
pham: do you know something no one else does? The guy from APS told me they know about it and are investigating, but .... ?
Robin LaCorte February 02, 2013 at 06:16 AM
How one treats their elders speaks to the integrity of that person. Isn't that a common belief among most cultures? This man is an opportunistic creep preying on the sympathy of others and using his MOTHER as the bait! Bless you Cathy, my prayers are that this abuse stops for you. As for the son...three words. GO TO WORK! And take respectful care of your mother. No one is fooled by the type of human being you are.
Kim Bailey February 02, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Rich, I'm a gerontologist, I know how the system works and Adult Protective Services, to an extent, has their hands tied. This is because we live in a country where self-determination and autonomy are cherished values and it is very difficult to intervene if a person truly doesn't feel they are being abused and/or exploited.
ms.sc. February 03, 2013 at 12:22 AM
What a scary, angry creep! Sam Wilson composure and intellect confronting the abusive son was stellar!
wanting to help February 04, 2013 at 08:44 AM
has anyone ever gone up to her and tried to just roll her away for some help?? Or even taken her to a hospital for an evaluation??wonder if in doing so her so called "son" would magically appear. Also that way it would show that he just sitting and monitoring her from afar. Plus it would help her and bust him.
Ray Hayashi February 04, 2013 at 09:11 PM
She would just get up and run!
ms.sc. February 04, 2013 at 11:47 PM
What's that saying....the apple doesn't fall far from the tree? She probably taught her son this sick behavior. Sad people. Thank God Sam actually walked away ok, he was actually pretty brave to approach such angry and deceptive people so late at night! Camera and YouTube? You never know the depths of insanity some people may have to harm another, especially when confronted and exposed like that.
William Kadonaga March 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Right on for you. =D

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