Dear Harry: I am a widow. In order to provide for emergencies, I gave my daughter (my only child) power of attorney over my account with Charles Schwab. There is a combination of cash, stocks and bonds in the account. When I got my last statement, I noticed a charge for $28,000 to a car dealer. I called my broker, and he told me that it was drawn by my daughter. Sure enough, I discovered that she had bought a new car. How in the world could Schwab allow her to do this? I called and spoke to several people, including a vice president, to tell them how wrong they were in doing this. They are stonewalling me! They are telling me that my problem is with my daughter. I don't want to end the power of attorney or I'll lose my daughter. Should I go to the SEC to complain?
What Harry Says: My dear reader: You have already lost your daughter. It appears that you're trying to buy her back by not pursuing her for the money or at least terminating the power of attorney. You gave her the authority to take money from the account, but she broke your trust by stealing. Yes, she stole $28,000 from you. You could pursue her legally, but you won't. Schwab was perfectly within its rights in honoring the withdrawal under the power of attorney that YOU had given her. You would be wasting your time and effort in contacting the SEC. Never forget that the only person who can steal from you is someone you trust. A person you don't trust won't get near your valuables.