For months, law enforcement officials have been in the process of investigating Peter Schroeder, a piano shop owner in Bird Rock that was the subject of various complaints regarding his business practices. Now, he has been charged with 14 different felony counts of elder abuse, embezzlement and grand theft.
The investigation began after customers of Schroeder Piano Company & Piano Rentals, Inc. came forward to complain about how they had been “swindled” while conducting business with the company. One customer, for example, says he consigned a $10,000 piano with the company on an agreed-upon 60/40 split. He was told over and over again that Schroeder had not yet sold the piano, and then ultimately stopped getting word from him altogether. Schroeder attempted to pay him a small amount of the money he was owed, and they wound up coming to a settlement.
The results of the investigation reveal that not only was Schroeder taking money out of the business for himself, but he was also engaging in elder abuse by putting pressure on elderly customers to engage in one-sided deals that cheated them out of thousands of dollars.
When people hear “elder abuse,” they most commonly think of nursing home abuse or neglect, and physical forms of abuse. However, financial abuse such as that allegedly committed by Schroeder is just as common. It could come in the form of a business owner like Schroeder pushing unfair business deals on an elderly customer, or a trusted relative improperly influencing an elderly person’s spending, saving or estate planning.
If you believe a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, contact the knowledgeable San Diego personal injury attorneys at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire right away.