What Is Elder Financial Abuse?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “One of the worst abuses of an older person occurs when a trusted person, family member, caregiver, professional or smooth talker, steals an elder’s money or property, something also referred to as financial exploitation. This money or property is rarely returned, and the loss puts an elderly victim’s financial stability and peace of mind at risk.”
The Elder Justice Act defines financial exploitation as "the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act or process of an individual, including a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets."
Sometimes family members, caregivers, or financial advisers see an elderly person being financially exploited but don’t know what to do. Elder financial abuse can take many forms. For example, a financial adviser may wonder why an older client, a widow, is withdrawing money more often than usual; or a family member questions why her elderly father’s new girlfriend always accompanies him to the bank; or a caregiver wonders why her client’s eldest daughter, who has power of attorney, wants to transfer her mother’s bank and investment accounts into her name; or a “friend’s” or a domineering and potentially abusive child’s name is suddenly added a joint owner to the family home; or the elderly person is purchasing unregistered securities; or sending large sums to play off-shore lotteries; or there could be an Internet scam where the elderly person discloses financial information and accounts are wiped out. The list goes on and on and sometimes they go on simultaneously or the bad guys come back for another bite of the apple. If these elderly adults are being financially exploited, how can they be helped?
How Badura & Wintz Law Helps
We help victims and their families recover assets and create firewalls to prevent re-occurrence.
Badura & Wintz Law is proud to have aided the U.S. Postal Inspectors office by identifying, gathering and, delivering evidence of a Ponzi scheme that preyed upon vulnerable senior citizens in numerous states, which resulted in a $114 million Securities and Exchange Commission charge against its Texas promoter.
We constantly look for indicators of elder financial abuse and are responsive to family members who bring it to our attention. We know that elder financial abuse can result in loss of independence, decreased health, and psychological distress, all of which culminate in a diminished quality of life for both the victim and the victim’s family. If you or believe that elder financial abuse is occurring or has occurred, please contact us.