Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

Medical emergencies, especially among aging individuals, can result in long-term rehabilitation and financial distress. Planning ahead for these emergencies is crucial, not only to preserve your assets and your independence but also to protect yourself from unscrupulous practices.

According to a recent article, a woman has filed a lawsuit alleging extensive financial fraud and abuse against a long-term elder care and rehabilitation facility. The woman, who lived alone and independently, entered the facility to recover from numerous medical issues after hospitalization. She alleges employees of the care facility repeatedly suggested that she get rid of her assets and live the remainder of her days in the nursing home facility, which she declined and insisted she did not wish to do.

After this refusal, she was placed on a cocktail of medications that put her under a fog, leading to hallucinations and confusion. It was then that she was coerced into signing a durable power of attorney agreement handing over control of all of her financial decisions to an officer of the care facility, whom the woman had never actually met. This officer kept her from seeing her family and eventually sold all of her assets, including her car, and listed her home on the market.

1.20.20“In 2018, 9.4% of all reports to BBB’s ScamTracker came from military personnel, veterans or their spouses, BBB of Metropolitan New York said.”

The scam victims who were military personnel, veterans or their spouses reported higher median losses than non-military consumers, the BBB said.

nj.com says in its recent article entitled “Veterans warned to beware of scams that target military families” that a common scam is “pension poaching,” which targets elderly and disabled veterans and their families.

7.15.19There are definitely advantages to all the perks of fame and fortune that come with being a celebrity. However, aging celebrities are just as vulnerable as regular people, when it comes to elder financial abuse. The major difference is that their stories are reported in the news.

Recent news stories about both the late legendary Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee and ‘60s psychedelic artist Peter Max are sad reminders that elder abuse can happen to anyone, no matter how famous or talented they are. There are a few striking similarities in what happened to Peter Max and Stan Lee, as reported by Next Avenue in the article “Stan Lee and Peter Max: What to Learn From Their Elder Abuse Cases.”

Both of these highly creative and successful men were taken advantage of by people who they trusted and who they were close to. In Stan Lee’s case, Keya Morgan, his former business partner and caretaker, was arrested for elder abuse, false imprisonment and grand theft of an elder dependent adult. The family says Lee was isolated from the family and then moved out of his home. There is now a restraining order against Morgan.

6.25.19The number of seniors being exploited or abused quadrupled from 2013-2017. Tracked now by a number of financial institutions that submit data to FinCEN, a federal government watchdog agency, elder abuse has become a national epidemic.

More than 180,000 Suspicious Activity Reports submitted by banks to the federal government were analyzed by the Consumer Financial Projection Bureau (CFPC). For professionals working in estate planning and probate law, the numbers are not surprising. They routinely hear tales of exploitation by scammers, family members and caregivers from families who are seeing elderly loved ones being taken advantage of, says ABC 15 Phoenix’s recent online report, “Protecting seniors from financial predators.”

Families reach out to these attorneys who specialize in senior issues because they're concerned that a grandparent or parent is being scammed.

4.23.19This is a cautionary tale about what can happen, when the wrong person is given power of attorney. The problem here is that a man changed his power of attorney without any review or oversight from any family members, including his own wife.

Why Dorothy Jorgenson’s husband changed his power of attorney just days before his death, is something that only he and the relative he named will ever know. However, the relative acted fast and took more than $70,000 from the couple’s joint bank account, says WPRI.com in the article, “Son questions power of attorney after mother's bank account is drained.”

"When I went to pick up a prescription for my mother, there was insufficient funds to pick up a prescription," Dorothy's son, Gene Weston, said. "I can’t believe that someone would do that to an elderly woman."

3.27.19“Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is among those in Congress calling for a crackdown on elder abuse crimes in the country.”

The witnesses of loved ones affected by elder abuse incidents testified at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington.

Those witnesses included Pat Blank, longtime Iowa Public Radio host, and past winner of the Iowa Broadcast News Association's Jack Shelley Award. Blank's mother, Virginia Olthoff, died in an Iowa nursing home in February 2018, because of alleged neglect.

3.8.19Virginia is taking steps to protect seniors and other vulnerable individuals against financial exploitation, by giving financial institutions more resources to prevent this growing crime.

With bipartisan support, the state House and Senate of Virginia have passed versions of State Bill 1490, which encourages financial institutions to have more leeway in making decisions to protect the elderly, when it suspects exploitation is occurring. However, for now, the State and the Senate have yet to reconcile the two bills to make it into the state’s laws.

“This bill addresses the issue of financial exploitation of older Virginians, which has been on the rise in recent years,” said the sponsor, Senator Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham.

8.23.18Talk about going big–New York’s Governor Cuomo is expanding services for seniors at risk of elder abuse with an $8.4 million package, combining state and federal funding.

Governor Cuomo announced that services for vulnerable adults at risk of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation will be improved through a new initiative developed by the state’s Office of Victim Services and the Office for the Aging, named the Elder Abuse Interventions and Enhanced Multidisciplinary Teams Initiative.

The program will fund and support 23 existing multidisciplinary teams that are now fighting elder abuse and will establish additional teams to serve every county in the state by the fall of 2020, according to the website, longisland.com’s article, “Governor Cuomo Announces $8.4 Million To Combat Elder Abuse And Financial Exploitation Statewide.”

5.7.18The use of technology—including cell phones, emails and social media—has dramatically increased the number of potential victims.

There’s good news and bad news on the elder fraud front. Law enforcement recently conducted the largest sweep of elder fraud cases specifically targeting the elderly, according the article “Law Enforcement Conducts Largest Coordinated Elder Identity Fraud Sweep in History,” appearing in Security Intelligence. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that more than 250 defendants have been charged in the sweep, 200 of whom have been charged criminally.

Some of the identity fraud campaigns included a common grandparent scam where seniors were contacted and informed that their grandchildren had been arrested and needed bail money. Other scams told seniors they’d won the lottery but needed to pay a large fee to get the winnings or that they owed back taxes to the IRS.

11.1.17A recent case of elder abuse in Michigan that resulted in only a misdemeanor, may have been the last straw for legislators.  They introduced a law that would make it a felony, if a person was convicted of harming a vulnerable adult or senior citizen.

The punishment for causing serious physical or mental harm to a vulnerable adult in Michigan is only a misdemeanor, according to a recent article in WZZM, “Lawmakers introduce tougher laws to protect vulnerable senior citizens.”  However, that may be changing soon.

Legislation that was recently introduced in Michigan's House of Representatives would toughen the penalties for somebody who "assaults another person that he or she knows or reasonably should know is an elder adult or vulnerable adult", which "causes physical injury, pain, or mental suffering" to them. The individual would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for more than four years or a fine of not more than $5,000.

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