Financial abuse of the elderly knows no boundaries. It can occur when someone steals or embezzles money, Social Security checks, or other property from an older person. It can be as simple as taking money from a wallet or manipulating a victim to turn over or sell personal property or belongings.
Existing law makes it a misdemeanor or a felony for a caretaker of an elder or dependent adult to violate any law proscribing theft, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, or identity theft with respect to the property or personal identifying information of that elder or dependent adult.
These include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial/material exploitation, neglect , abandonment, and self-neglect . Physical abuse. Use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment.
However if the victim so chooses, and criminal charges are filed, financial elder abuse can lead to misdemeanor and felony charges. Misdemeanor convictions can lead to up to a year in jail , and a $1,000 fine. Felony convictions can result in up to four years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
The federal Elder Justice Act, enacted in 2010, defines financial exploitation of the elderly as, “the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act . . . that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder the rightful access to,
To prove there was a breach by the fiduciary or someone else, one or more of the following must be proven: Extensive withdrawal from monetary accounts. Increased or changed spending habits. Someone added to the senior’s financial accounts. Unpaid health care costs or no health care. Changes in the senior’s estate.
Become a “trusted contact” to monitor bank account and brokerage activity. Sign up for a service such as EverSafe to track financial activity and notify an advocate of unusual withdrawals or spending. Set up direct deposit for checks so others don’t have to cash them.
But while state law requires that elder abuse be reported, the high level of proof needed for criminal charges is often elusive. If an abuser has legal documents such as power of attorney, it is especially hard to prove that a victim has been defrauded or stolen from.
Here are some steps to consider taking : Talk to the older person . Gather more information or evidence as to what is occurring. Contact the older person’s financial institution. Contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) office. Contact law enforcement.
The federal government and states, the District of Columbia, and some territories all have statutes to protect older adults from physical abuse , neglect, financial exploitation, psychological abuse , sexual abuse , and abandonment. On this page you will find different types of state statutes related to elder abuse .
Exploitation refers to the act or process of taking advantage of an elderly person by another person or caretaker whether for monetary, personal or other benefit , gain or profit.
If you want to report elder financial abuse , contact your local county APS Office (PDF). Abuse reports may also be made to you local law enforcement agency.
Two-thirds of financial crimes against the elderly are perpetrated by family, friends or other trusted individuals, Wells Fargo survey finds. Financial fraud against the elderly is most often perpetrated by those closest to the victims: family members, friends or other trusted individuals, according to a new survey.
Financial crimes against the elderly fall under two general categories : fraud committed by strangers, and financial exploitation by relatives and caregivers.