Elder Fraudster Found Guilty (CA. USA)

Elder Fraudster Found Guilty (CA. USA)

Man faces more than 300 years for $11 million Ponzi scheme

By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

June 30, 2009

A San Juan Capistrano man faces more than 300 years in prison after being convicted of almost 700 felonies for defrauding 125 people of $11.4 million, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

In a case billed as one of the largest elder-abuse cases ever handled by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Jeffrey Butler, 51, was deemed guilty of 693 counts – the majority of them involving financial elder abuse and the sale of unqualified securities, according to Deputy District Attorney William Overtoom.

The jury deadlocked on another 86 counts – leading Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler to declare a mistrial on those charges.

Butler was found not guilty on another 30 counts.

The reading of the verdicts began Monday morning and ended at about noon Tuesday.

Butler’s wife, Peggy Warmuth Butler, 49, was found guilty of four counts of filing false tax returns. She began crying when Stotler said he would allow her to remain free until sentencing for the couple, which is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Jeffrey Butler remains in custody at Orange County Men’s Jail until sentencing.

He was arrested in February 2006 and accused of defrauding senior citizen clients by pretending to help them prepare their wills and trusts.

The trial, which began in November, last almost eight months and included testimony from 92 victims, prosecutors said.


Abridged

SOURCE: OCRegister – Santa Ana,CA,USA

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Elder Abuse, Fraud Reports Rising As Economy Sinks

By Mike Sever

Record-Courier staff writer

It’s the same old see-saw — as the local economy sinks, reports of elder fraud and abuse are on the rise, officials say.

The number of elder abuse cases opened last year was 60 percent higher than in 2007, according to Cathi Rufener, family assessment supervisor for the Portage County Department of Job and Family Services. And, in the first quarter of this year, the department opened upwards of 70 cases.

A total of 210 cases of elder abuse were opened last year compared to 127 in 2007, Rufener said. How high the case load goes this year “probably depends on how the economy goes, how hot it gets this summer and how cold it gets this winter,” she said.

The department is working closely with the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, which has two investigators working with Adult Protective Services.

The close collaboration is important, Sheriff David Doak said. Caseworkers and investigators will respond together in serious cases.

“They are able to pick up those cases and run with them from start to finish,” he said. “If there is an in-house perpetrator we need to get on it right away.”

People who might suspect abuse or victimization of an elderly person can report it to the CARES Line (330-296-273). It’s the same hotline used to report suspected child abuse.

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SOURCE: Ravenna Record Courier – Ravenna,OH,USA
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How Banks, Marketers Aid Elder Scams (

July 1, 2009

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how difficult it was for our family to stop con artists from scamming an elderly relative who was convinced that he was on the verge of winning big lottery and sweepstakes prizes.

Digging into our family’s experience yielded another surprise: Some common business practices may have actually helped the scams continue, such as the sale of direct marketing lists and banks’ moves to automatically cover overdrafts—an issue that President Barack Obama has flagged for attention under his proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

When our relative began to fall behind on bills, he agreed to give power of attorney to a son, who started paying the mortgage and other big bills, as well as reducing the amount available in his dad’s checking account. What the son didn’t count on was that the bank would automatically cover up to several hundred dollars a month of his father’s overdrafts, which essentially gave him more money to send to scammers. In addition, he was charged $33 for every overdraft—running up hundreds of dollars in fees. When the son called Sovereign Bank, his father’s longtime bank, he was told that the protection was standard and that he couldn’t turn it off.

Steven Mantelli, Sovereign’s senior vice president for retail banking, says the bank provides overdraft protection “on a courtesy basis” for customers, and it isn’t typically shut off. But in isolated situations, he says, the bank will stop it.

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SOURCE: Wall Street Journal – USA
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An interesting article. Please go to SOURCE for full-text.
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