Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with local authorities and a few financial institutions on Financial Exploitation of the Elder and lo and behold, here we are again this morning reading the headline of the local paper entitled “Woman Arrested After Exploiting Her Disabled Mother.”
According to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, members of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division began investigating a burglary in which the victim’s debit card was stolen from a home in McHenry, IL. The same day as the burglary, an unidentified woman was seen using the victim’s debit card in Round Lake Beach. As it turns out, the unidentified woman is her 43 year-old daughter who decided to go on a shopping spree, opening credit cards in her mother’s name and having a hay day!
Did you know that this was such a common thing that now Illinois has put a new law into effect to protect the elderly? You can find out more about that here!
It’s unfortunate, but I hear about this kind of thing all the time – tho’ sometimes it’s not the children or those related to the elderly person, but the caretaker. In fact, it wasn’t but a couple of months ago at a neighbor’s house that one of my neighbor’s said I just have to tell you about what’s happened to my uncle.
She went on to tell how her 95 year-old uncle now has this “live-in” blonde, bodacious, caregiver (age 35) who has moved in, sold his belongings buying all new furniture to her taste, is now listed in his will and set to acquire his estate when he kicks the bucket, and has him hood-winked into thinking she cares for him and that she is his girlfriend (in some weird, gross fantasy). She was telling this and as I’m listening, my blood is beginning to boil because I started thinking, what if this were my parents?
One of her last statements after that grotesque story was, “and my brother and I can’t do anything about it.” See, this gentleman is a widow and has no children.
The next few days after that I gathered some pertinent information from within my network of elder-care providers and went back to her saying in essence you do have rights as family and here are the steps you need to take.
- Contact my Elder-Law Attorney, talk to him about the matter, the estate, and legal rights
- Contact the local Police Department, tell them what’s going on
- Find out what company she works with (if there is one) and report your suspicions
- Contact the Department on Aging
I cannot imagine stealing from my own parents. Those who are so trusting of us and yet we choose to abuse that trust and steal them blind. For those who have no conscience – THAT’S JUST WRONG! In fact, how can someone do that to another human being – especially the elderly?
It’s a shame we have to have legislation incorporate this kind of training for those in law enforcement, financial institutions and other entities to help us protect the elderly from this kind of abuse, but thank God – something’s being done to protect these people from their own children.
What are some of the stories you’ve heard? Please feel free to share – and make us aware!