More Resources Needed to Fight Financial Elder Abuse
Financial abuse of seniors is shockingly common. Every year, seniors in the United States lose tens of billions of dollars to financial scams and fraud. Equally tragic is that not enough is being done to prosecute these fraud cases.
Few Cases of Financial Elder Abuse Get Prosecuted
The problem has many dimensions. When the person committing the fraud is a relative of the victim, prosecutors may think of it as a private matter, so they won’t treat it as a crime. Even when the scammer is a stranger to the victim, cases may never get resolved because the scammer can’t be found. To compound the problem, very few cases of elder financial abuse are ever reported to law enforcement in the first place. And when elderly people do report financial fraud, they may not be believed or taken seriously.
There are a few cities that have programs to aggressively fight against elder abuse, and these programs get results. Their experience shows that a proactive approach works. Investigators must seek out cases of elder financial abuse. When the scammer is a stranger, law enforcement must actively investigate and track down leads.
To do this requires more resources to hire investigators and prosecutors who can focus on crimes against the elderly.
Law Enforcement Needs Units Dedicated to Fighting Elder Abuse
In addition to devoting more resources to the problem of elder financial abuse, cities that have units and training specifically devoted to fighting financial elder abuse crimes see better results. Unfortunately, only a few cities currently have such units.
People involved in the units have compared the current situation for fighting elder abuse crimes to the way domestic abuse crimes were treated in the past. Before domestic abuse was treated as a separate category of crime, with resources devoted to fighting it, domestic abusers were just charged with battery or assault. There was no way to keep track of how many domestic abuse cases were occurring. It was as if they didn’t even exist.
That’s similar to the current situation with elder financial abuse crimes. The solution is to create more units throughout the country that specifically target financial crimes against seniors.
You Can Get Help
If you suspect that a loved one is being financially abused, help is available. The elder abuse lawyers of Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner would be glad to help you. Call 1-800-281-8515 for a free consultation.