At Obenshain Law Group, we handle elder abuse cases and we have observed an increase in the number of these cases that has been alarming. To help spread awareness about financial scams and exploitation of the elderly, Attorney Mark Obenshain, wants to share the following story:
Nursing Assistant Steals Life Savings of Holocaust Survivor
In Southwest Miami, an elderly couple was victimized by a certified nursing aid, who, according to police, stole their life savings. To make matters worse, one of the victims is a Holocaust survivor who lost her mother at Auschwitz. Much of the stolen money came from German reparation checks.
The crime came to light when credit card statements showed exorbitant costs from bars and for parties. Additional money was spent at restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory, and over $100,000 was spent at Publix Supermarkets.
The CNA was arrested and faces felony charges, including grand theft and financial exploitation of the elderly, but the defrauded couple may never get their hard-earned money back.
From Mark’s Desk
With the passage of time, we all become more vulnerable to exploitation. This is especially true as we require more and more care and assistance.
The lessons in the above story are many. As we or our family members age and require assistance in our homes, we must also establish certain safeguards against exploitation.
While we want to trust our caregivers, it is important to remove any temptation they may face. If caregivers know family members are monitoring finances, for example, this removes a possible temptation.
To monitor your loved one’s finances:
- Consider talking to the branch manager of your family members’ bank and asking them to notify someone if there are unusual or especially large transactions.
- Make sure to review credit card and bank statements at least monthly, or more often if they are accessible online.
- If possible, have multiple family members share these tasks to keep everyone honest. Remember: family members can be susceptible to temptation, as well.
While there is no foolproof way to prevent financial exploitation, studies have shown that one of the most effective ways to prevent financial fraud is to simply talk about your finances. Those who discuss their finances with friends, family and financial professionals are often better equipped to prevent financial exploitation than those who do not.
How to Handle Caregivers: Mark’s Advice
There are additional precautions that should be taken with respect to caregivers. Seniors can become quite dependent on their caregivers, especially when they do not have visitors on a regular basis. Beware of sentimental appeals from caregivers, who may ask for assistance addressing their own financial problems. Scammers often claim they do not have enough money for medical bills, or cite problems fulfilling rent or mortgage payments.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
If you or a family member are concerned about a possible scam or believe you are the victim(s) exploitation, act immediately.
Consider visiting a professional, like a lawyer or accountant, to discuss potential remedies.
It many cases, it may be appropriate to call the police – scams are serious crimes, after all.
If an elder is being abused financially, Virginia’s Adult Protective Services (APS) department may also be in a position to help.
To seek the assistance of Obeshain Law Group, call (540) 318-7360 today.