Last year, the actor Mickey Rooney testified before the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging regarding the abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of seniors. He spoke from personal experience, and his words were heartfelt and tragic. He said:
Elder abuse comes in many different forms – physical abuse, emotional abuse, or financial abuse. Each one is devastating in its own right. Many times, sadly, as with my situation, the elder abuse involves a family member. When that happens, you feel scared, disappointed, angry, and you can’t believe this is happening to you.
He went on to say:
I know because it happened to me. My money was taken and misused. When I asked for information, I was told I couldn’t have any of my own information. I was told it was “for my own good” and that it was none of my business. I was literally left powerless.
Mickey Rooney’s story of exploitation is one many investors experience. In fact, the financial exploitation of the elderly is on the rise. A survey conducted for Investor Protection Trust estimated that at least one in five Americans over the age of 65 – that’s 7.3 million seniors – has been victimized by financial fraud.
SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar recently had some interesting things to say about financial fraud targeting senior citizens at the American Retirement Summit in remarks delivered by his Chief of Staff, Smeeta Ramarathnam – and it wasn’t what you are necessarily thinking.
According to Aguilar, when it comes to the rise of financial exploitation of the elderly, “it is clear there is not federal leadership on this issue.” He noted that the GAO, although not focused specifically on financial exploitation, found that greater federal leadership was needed in this area, and made several specific recommendations to ensure national data collection and response. For example, he observed, the report recommended, among other things, that:
-The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) determine the feasibility and cost of establishing a national resource center for Adult Protective Services (APS)-dedicated information that is comprehensive and easily accessible;
-The Secretary of HHS, in conjunction with the Attorney General, convene a group of state APS representatives to help determine what APS administrative data on elder abuse cases would be most useful for all states and for the federal government to collect;
-A pilot study be conducted to collect, compile, and disseminate uniform, reliable APS administrative data on elder abuse cases from each state.
Full Article and Source:
Why Aren't the Feds Doing More to Stop Financial Fraud of Seniors?