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May 15, 2014

When we think of abuse and neglect in regards to our elderly community we think about the terrifying stories of senior citizens being left to fend for themselves in disgusting conditions with little or no food, sanitation or attacked so badly that they are left with cuts, bruises and broken bones.

However there is one such form of abuse that far too often goes unnoticed. Maybe because the signs are more difficult to spot, or maybe because it is so unbelievably despicable.

Financial abuse and monetary exploitation of the elderly is more and more prevalent in our society. Even more unnerving than falling victim to a smooth-talking scam artist is the victimization endured at the hands of trusted family members or others with whom the victim has an on-going relationship. It is well documented that more times than not it is someone that the victim knows and trusts who is the culprit of abuse.

Regrettably, this continuous practice by unscrupulous characters has raked in billions of defrauded funds which belong to the US economy.

Jerome Griggs Beery, an elderly man himself from Los Alamos, New Mexico, was issued an injunction and fined $6,000 after being accused of defrauding the elderly of close to a staggering $170,000 in what the state identified as a Ponzi-scheme.

It was alleged that between 2010 and 2012, an innocent and trusting elderly couple gave 80-year old Beery $50,000 to invest on their behalf. To begin with, they received monthly checks back from their investment. However in 2013 things started to unravel when they asked Beery for an explanation as to why the checks had stopped and why they were seeing no more return on their investment. Beery’s retort was that he was out of money due to the investment firm he used going bankrupt. In reality, Beery had pocketed the couple’s cash for his corrupt use. The money that the couple were receiving had been generated from new investors.

Sadly, countless perpetrators like Beery look at gray hair and see gold. Whether in nursing homes or in private facilities, they steal millions of dollars year on year from unsuspecting victims who need help to look after their finances. While often it can be strangers who may prey on their vulnerability, more and more regularly it is infact exploitation by caregivers or friends and family members which leaves victims feeling more broken. Having placed their trust in those who they know well, more stories emerge of family members who con their senior relatives. Elderly fraud victims often find their ability to trust shattered.
Elderly financial abuse is punishable as a crime and a good preventative measure involves having the abusers face the repercussions of their actions. That is why McIver Brown implores you to seek out legal advice if you know of an elderly person who has been made victim to financial abuse so that we can bring them to justice. McIver Brown can help if you have been in a situation like this or know someone else who has. Do not let criminals get away with taking your rights and your money.

We must do more and we must act soon. Our elderly communities deserve dignity and financial security and yet they are too frequently robbed of both.

Source: KLoK 1d 68

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