Man Caught Using Elderly Mother to Panhandle

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IRVINE, Calif. (KTLA) — An Orange County man is being investigated for elder abuse for allegedly using his mother to panhandle for money.

The man, 49-year-old David Chay, was recently confronted by a concerned citizen outside the UC Irvine Town Center mall.

That concerned citizen posted a video of the confrontation to YouTube.

“There’s the potential that there’s a law being broken based on the panhandling or possibly trespassing,” said Irvine police Lt. Julie Engen.

“But nobody is pursuing that,” she added.

“As far as what’s occurring between the man and the woman depicted in the video, that matter is under investigation.”

Irvine police say they began looking at Chay almost immediately after the video was posted last month.

Chay allegedly has his mother sit in front of stores asking for money for four to six hours at a time.

The video, in fact, was shot at 2 a.m., as the son picked up his mother and her earnings in his Prius.

But investigators say that the mom, apparently, is a willing participant, and that, while it’s distasteful, it’s just a minor misdemeanor.

“There is a municipal code against conducting business without a license, so any solicitation of money without a license could be considered illegal,” Engen said.

“However, that is not our primary concern in a case like this,” she added.

The primary concern is that Chay might be forcing his mother to panhandle and/or mentally abusing her, and authorities are checking into that.

“If she says I don’t want to go anywhere, I’m happy here, I have a place to live… there’s not much we can do,” said Carol Mitchell of Orange County Adult Services.

“We see this a lot, where elderly people have a son or daughter or other relative taking care of them, and they really don’t want anybody else.”

KTLA spoke to Mrs. Soon Wah Chay late Thursday night. She said she was evicted form her home last year and must panhandle to survive.


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