Kiwanians Hear About Elder Exploitation (FL. USA)

Kiwanians Hear About Elder Exploitation (FL. USA)

Kiwanians hear about elder exploitation


The program for the weekly Kiwanis luncheon on Tuesday, June 23, was presented by Glenda F. Swearingen, an attorney from Marianna. Swearingen’s practice focuses on elder law, and her topic Tuesday was elder exploitation in Florida.

According to Swearingen, “exploitation” is when a person in a position of trust and confidence by deception or intimidation obtains, uses, or attempts to obtain or use a vulnerable adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive a vulnerable adult of the use, benefit or possession of the funds, assets or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.

Common types of elder exploitation are: identity theft, imposter fraud, mail fraud-solicitation, moving scams, investment scams, long distance calling scams, home repair fraud, charities fraud, telemarketing fraud, and water softener scams.

Sadly, the most common exploiters of the elderly are children, with other relatives or friends also common. Least likely are the siblings of the elder person.

A test for these scams is, IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS!

If you know of or suspect exploitation of a vulnerable adult, Florida law requires everyone to report the problem to Adult Protective Services immediately. The Florida Abuse Hotline is 1-800-96-ABUSE. The Florida Elder Help Line is 1-800-963-5337. The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-500-1119.

SOURCE: Chipley Bugle – Chipley,FL,USA

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Jury Wards a Groundbreaking Verdict in Elder Abuse/Neglect Case (WA. USA)

Vista Jury Awards a Groundbreaking Verdict in Elder Abuse/Neglect Case Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

A Vista jury unanimously awarded plaintiff Elaine Stinson nearly $1.34 million for the reckless abuse and neglect she suffered at the hands of her care providers at Leisure Palms, a Fallbrook licensed residential care facility for the elderly. (Case No. 37-2008-00050484-CU-PO-NC, Stinson v. Leisure Palms, et al.)

June 29, 2009

In a groundbreaking elder abuse/neglect case, a Vista jury unanimously awarded plaintiff Elaine Stinson nearly $1.34 million for the reckless abuse and neglect she suffered at the hands of her care providers at Leisure Palms, a Fallbrook licensed residential care facility for the elderly. The verdict was decided today, June 15, 2009.

The jury awarded $88,000 for past medical bills, $500,000 in general damages, and $750,000 in punitive damages. In addition, plaintiff’s attorneys will file a post-judgment motion for attorneys, expert fees, and costs, likely adding another $400,000 or more to the judgment.

“This is the first of its kind in a case that gets at reckless neglect in a residential care facility for the elderly,” according to Prescott Cole, senior staff attorney of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to improving the choices, care and quality of life for California’s long term care consumers. “This case defined what reckless neglect is and the verdict shines a bright light on it. The 3.8 million seniors in California and 38 million Californians overall are all rich winners today; and we have Mrs. Stinson and her attorneys to thank for being courageous enough to go all the way to clarify the law. They moved the bar way up, made a statement that these kinds of things can go to trial, the jury gets it, understands how bad it is, and the defense can’t hide under the assumption that clients can be browbeaten, intimidated by the system, and will give up before achieving justice. As an advocate, this is thrilling.”

SOURCE: Emediawire (press release) – Ferndale,WA,USA

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Thieving Carer Spared Prison by Forgiving Pensioner (UK)

29th June 2009

A neighbour who stole a pensioner’s life savings after becoming his carer has avoided going to jail because of the forgiveness of his victim.

Serio Fernando, 57, took advantage of the trust placed in him by frail Raymond Jones after moving into his Telford Road, St Albans home as his carer by stealing more than £4,000 from his bank in a matter of days.

Mr Jones entrusted Fernando, from Portugal, with his bank card and between January 16 and January 29, Fernando stole a total of £4,569.78.

Fernando pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at a previous hearing, and was warned he faced immediate custody.

However, when he was due to be sentenced the court was told that Mr Jones had forgiven Fernando and wanted him to continue living with him and helping him.

The court was told Fernando had brought the elderly man “back to life”.

As a result sentence was further adjourned for an impact statement from Mr Jones, while Fernando, who had been bailed to a different address was allowed to return to Mr Jones’ home.

And at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, Recorder Philip Brook-Smith imposed a 51-week suspended prison sentence – the longest sentence that can be suspended.

Fernando must also carry out 100 hours unpaid work. No compensation or costs were imposed.

SOURCE: St Albans & Harpenden Review – St Albans,UK

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Illinois Makes July ‘Elder Abuse Awareness’ Month (IL. USA)

By Associated Press

July 3, 2009

July is Elder Abuse Awareness month in Illinois.

Department on Aging Director Charles Johnson is announcing the fifth annual “Break the Silence” campaign.

An estimated 80,000 older adults suffer abuse each year.

Elder abuse is defined as neglect; physical injury; mental, sexual or financial exploitation of someone 60 or older.

There were more than 11,000 reports of elder abuse in the last year.

Those who suspect abuse should look for untreated injuries, changes in behavior, a caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors, dehydration or malnutrition, or changes in financial accounts.

Trained professional are available around the clock to take reports at 1-866-800-1409.


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Elder Fraudster Found Guilty (CA. USA)

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



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.


SOURCE: OCRegister – Santa Ana,CA,USA


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Summit Aims to Educate Clergy Members about Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

26 June, 2009

An educational summit was held in Cupertino Thursday to train clergy members on how to look for signs of elder abuse.

According to the Mercury News, clergy members were added to a state list of “mandated reporters” five years ago and are required by law to report to authorities if they suspect abuse or neglect of seniors.

But despite the new law, organizers of the abuse summit say the problem is continuing to grow and that no reports of abuse have been filed by any clergy members in the county since then. Betty Malks, project director of the Elder Abuse and Neglect Initiative, says it is very important for churches to be educated about this issue because elders have the highest church attendance rates.

According to Malks, sixty to ninety percent of all cases involve family members. Malk says financial elder abuse is a hidden crime that often goes unreported. National statistics show only one in 100 cases are ever reported.

“That’s due to the shame and humiliation that’s involved with financial abuse especially if it’s in your family. You know, many people will say to me, ‘I didn’t raise my kids to do this,’” said Malks.

In Santa Clara County, Malks says 39 to 40 percent of all reports made to adult protective services involve elder abuse.

The Mercury News reports there are an estimated 700 churches, temples and mosques in the county. Malks hopes that by working with these faith-based organizations, more awareness will be spread about the problem.


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Plan to Crack Down on Elder Abuse (MI. USA)

Sentinel-Standard writer

June 29, 2009

With baby boomers aging and more of the population entering their golden years, local lawmakers are doing their part to ensure that senior citizens don’t end up being victimized by those preying on the elderly community.

Rep. Mike Huckleberry, D-Greenville, called elder abuse a concern for residents of Michigan.

“(Elder abuse) often gets swept under the rug here in Michigan,” Rep. Mike Huckleberry, D-Greenville, said during the unveiling of the plan Monday afternoon.

Under a new plan backed by Huckleberry and recently introduced into the state legislature, there would be increased penalties for cheating or defrauding seniors, citizens would be empowered to file criminal complaints against those who scam seniors and they would require financial institutions to do more to disclose the rights of seniors and disclose against fraud.

“The penalties and protections on the books when it comes to elder abuse are not strict enough,” Rep. Mary Valentine, D-Norton Shores, said.

Valentine, who was in Ionia along with Huckleberry to announce the plan, knows all too well the affects of elder abuse on its victims and families.

“This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart,” she said, adding at one time her uncle had fallen victim to financial abuse.

In especially hard economic times, Valentine also said financial elder abuse can hit close to home, especially when some family members might prey on unsuspecting seniors as a means for financial well-being.

In addition to providing protection against fraud and scams against senior citizens, the plan would also create a special community alert in the event of a senior going missing.

Called the Mozelle Alert, it would be a way to notify the public in case a senior citizen goes missing.

It was named after Detroit resident Estella Mozelle Pierce who died after wandering from her home, would be similar to an Amber Alert.

Additionally, with many at the state level doing what it takes to improve the economy by releasing certain offenders from prison, legislators don’t see the elder abuse crackdown as something that will put people back in jail.

“This is stopping people from going to jail,” Huckleberry said, adding the plan would be a deterrent aimed at preventing abuse.

He also called the jail space well deserved for those who do happen to be abusing senior citizens.

“If someone is abusing a senior, they belong in jail,” Huckleberry said.

According to Huckleberry, now that the legislation has been introduced, it is anticipated that it will be further hammered out in various committees before any future legislative action is taken.

“I think we have a good chance of this going through,” he said.

Rep. Brian Calley, R-Portland, said although he hasn’t had the chance to look over the proposal, he believes with people living longer these topics deserve a more thorough look in order to better protect senior citizens.

SOURCE: Sentinel-Standard – Ionia,MI,USA


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Panel Focuses on the Dangers of Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

Panel focuses on the dangers of elder abuse

By Michelle Knight

Esperanza Boggs, 89, lost everything after her son, David Boggs, 51, set fire to their Camarillo home and killed himself on June 11.

Described by his mother as armed and dangerous, David Boggs had been under investigation for alleged elder abuse, accused of holding his mother a virtual hostage for years in their home and embezzling $211,000 from her.

He set the home ablaze shortly after Ventura County deputies arrived at the mobile home to serve him with court papers to move out.

Esperanza Boggs’ story, although more extreme than most, is familiar to social workers who deal with the increasing problem of elder abuse in Ventura County.

To help protect the county’s growing senior population, a panel of experts recently addressed how the elderly can protect themselves from abuse, financial and otherwise, during a discussion at the Goebel Senior Center in Thousand Oaks.

Marcy Snider, coordinator of Ventura County Human Services Agency’s adult protective services, said her agency received 2,100 referrals of elder abuse last year.

“This year, we’ll easily surpass that,” Snider said.

Social workers with adult protective services investigate neglect or abuse and connect elderly victims to resources in the community. The statemandated program is voluntary, free of charge and available to those 65 and older.

Many referrals to the agency involve caregivers not taking proper care of their elderly charges, Snider said. But financial abuse of seniors has become the No. 1 complaint in the past four months, she said.

Snider described an elderly woman in the East County who was lonely and befriended by a salesperson over the phone. Eventually the salesperson scammed her out of $50,000. Scam artists have duped money from retired teachers, lawyers and other well-educated professionals.

Family members and friends have also taken advantage of the elderly, Snider said. Caregivers have bought groceries for the senior but also for themselves and have filled up their gasoline tank on the senior’s credit card. The elderly person may have poor eyesight and not notice the extra charges on the statement. A friend or family member may steal blank checks from the bottom of the senior’s checkbook so they won’t be missed right away.

To report elder or dependent adult abuse, call the 24-hour hotline at (805) 654-3200.

To talk to Pollara, call (805) 654-2505.


SOURCE: Camarillo Acorn – Camarillo,CA,USA

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Carer Admits Pensioner Sex Attack (UK)

A male carer at an Edinburgh nursing home carried out a serious sex assault on an infirm 76-year-old woman as she held on to her walking frame.

The distressed victim later told another employee that Joseph Sinja had “done things her husband wouldn’t do”.

Sinja, 32, admitted carrying out the attack on 26 April this year, when he appeared at the High Court in the city.

He is due to be sentenced later but THE Kenyan national was warned he could be deported.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court: “The victim describes feeling dirty and sick as a result of the incident and that the accused had done something to her that her husband had never done.

“Her age makes the offence particularly distressing and embarrassing to her and any mention of it causes extreme upset,” he said.

The prosecutor told the court that the woman, who has suffered strokes, irregular heart rhythm and reduced mobility, remains at the home run by Edinburgh City Council, but is now treated by female carers only.

Sinja, who was allowed into Britain on a student visa, was employed as an assistant at the home through Family Circle Care Ltd, which provided the agency staff.




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