A TRIBUNAL has stepped in to protect an elderly man with dementia who has sent at least $200,000 to an African country after being caught up in international internet scams.
A social worker applied to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a guardian and administrator to be appointed to help with the man’s personal and financial decisions.
She said the man, who has had two strokes, had mortgaged his house to raise funds to send to the internet scammers, after sending money to an African country over several years.
He also had outstanding debts for loans, and his internet and phone services had been disconnected because of unpaid bills.
The social worker said he had refused to accept advice about his financial decisions, even from his partner.
The tribunal heard the elderly man was involved in two car accidents on the day of his recent stroke, but he had no recollection of them.
The social worker said the man did not understand that he was no longer allowed to drive, and he had regularly tried to abscond from the hospital.
Staff were forced to lock doors on occasions to prevent him from leaving, and an occupational therapist said he could have been run over had he not been restricted by hospital staff.
The tribunal heard he struggled with simple tasks, such as using a mobile phone and turning off a television.
Senior member Clare Endicott said the evidence satisfied the tribunal that the man was at an immediate risk of harm from financial exploitation, and that he would not be safe at home.
“He had placed himself at risk of harm by sending large sums of money to internet scams, he had incurred debts, and he had mismanaged his finances,’’ Ms Endicott said.
The Public Guardian was appointed for three months to make decisions about the man’s accommodation, healthcare, contacts, visits and service provision.
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Guardian to protect elderly scam victim from further exploitation