Thursday, March 28, 2013

How To Prevent Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Elder financial abuse is an expensive drain on the U.S. economy. A study of media reports from April to June 2010 "estimated that financial exploitation cost older adults at least $2.9 billion" that year, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO. According to the report: "The money that older adults lose in these cases is rarely recovered, and this loss can undermine both the health of older adults and their ability to support and care for themselves."

That often means that taxpayers end up footing the bill for housing and medical care once an exploited senior has been drained of his or her assets. In fact, the report says that in 80 cases involving Utah's elderly, that state's Medicaid program could pony up about $900,000 in Medicaid costs alone.

The GAO report points out that unless law enforcement, the courts and adult protective services get better at protecting the assets of older adults, this country could see a sharp increase in the amount of public dollars replacing private funds that are illegally drained from their estates. And as the senior population increases, those numbers will only continue to climb. Certified Fraud Examiner Steve Lee says that "pre-grave robbing" -- which often goes unreported -- is an issue frequently encountered by private investigators, specialists in elder care law and colleagues.

Tom Fields' personal experience has led him to crusade for more effective legislation targeting elder financial abuse. "There is a clear lack of protection under current laws and legislation," says Fields, who is from Mentor, Ohio. He believes that in addition to current law being insufficient, law enforcement often has little idea of how to handle these cases.

"It's true that police reaction to cases of elder financial abuse varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and there is little crime-specific training available to them. Many jurisdictions treat these cases as civil, rather than criminal, cases, leaving families to struggle with stopping the siphoning of an elderly person's assets via a sluggish court system.

Full Article and Source:
How to Prevent Financial Abuse of Elderly Parents


Nancy said...

This article is good, but I think it would have been stronger if it had gone a step deeper, into the high cost of guardianship abuse.

Thelma said...

Sure, there's much more to the story. See:

Finny said...

Good job Tom!

Luis said...

Guardianship is a growing menace to Americans, operated as a profit factor by the elder bar and others.

Anonymous said...

Add the Clackamas County, Oregon office of the District Attorney, whose office has rejected Fraud, and an elders blatant exploitation, as a civil matterfor the past 10 years.
They never investigated reports, evidence submitted to that office, they even suggested that I may need mental care, because I insist on the facts, that my assets are under my sole ownership, recorded at the Clackamas County Recorder's office, but fraudulently taken without a court order, and a fast talking sleazy attorney and his fraudulent affidavit puished through "Probate" while I am neither incompetent, nor was I notified of a Probate case having been filed by affidavit only.eb