Empowering Seniors with relevant Information on Elder Abuse.
"Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person”. (WHO)
Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.
A textbook case of financial elder abuse in Aptos becomes part of a nationwide push to protect seniors from swindlers.
By Jessica Lussenhop
LOOKING BACK, James "Pops" Lee's loved ones say they now read a lot more into things that, at the time they were happening, seemed like nothing special. Lee's son Bob dwells on the first time he met Fenita Caldwell, a medical supplies saleswoman in her early 40s who lived down the street from his father on Dolphin Drive in Aptos. "She seemed like a sweet lady, professional, highly educated," he says. "She said, 'Oh, I love old people.' I look back on that."
Seven years later, in May 2008, Bob Lee stood in front of a courtroom, after Caldwell had pled guilty to misdemeanor financial elder abuse, and read a statement he'd prepared, though he says he was almost too angry to deliver it. "Your actions betrayed someone who genuinely loved and cared about you," he read. "You not only broke his spirit, you broke his heart."
Less than two weeks later, James Lee died at 95, his health having rapidly declined over the course of the investigation against his former caregiver.
Last week, Congress heard the story in a short documentary film prepared by the Elder Justice Now campaign, a partnership of the National Council on Aging and WITNESS, a human rights video documentary group, in an effort to push the passage of the so-called Elder Abuse Justice Act. Says Lee, "I hope I accomplished out of this two things: I hope, number one, I make people aware of this, and also I hope that she'll never do it again. She was real good at this. If I hadn't taken over my dad's finances, I think she would have fleeced him."
(Great article. Please go to Source for full-text)
Protect yourself against your greedy adult children
By Marshall Loeb, Market Watch
Oct. 28, 2009
When a New York City jury recently convicted Anthony Marshall, 85, the only child of millionaire-socialite-philanthropist Brooke Astor, of 14 counts of fraudulently squeezing huge sums out of his late mother's $180 million estate, many observers thought it was simply an isolated case of financial patricide among the super rich.
Abuse of wealthy elderly parents by their greedy adult children and other relatives is as common as sin -- so common that legal eagles have coined a name for it: elder abuse. More than 500,000 reports of such abuse against elderly Americans are sent to legal authorities every year, and millions more cases are thought to go unreported. Indeed, U.S. Senate sources estimate that only 16% of all elder abuse cases are reported.
A comprehensive survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute concludes that financial loss by victims of elder abuse is at least $2.6 billion a year. Figuring that there are still plenty more cases to be found, district attorneys have set up their own elder abuse offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Brooklyn, Seattle and many other places.
Don't be a financial victim
Here are some thoughtful recommendations from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform:
·Document financial arrangements. Put all financial instructions in writing. Keep updated records of all financial transactions in a safe place.
Practice preventive banking. Use direct deposit. Keep checks in a safe place and don't sign a blank check allowing someone else to fill in the amount. Never give someone your ATM, credit card or PIN or Social Security number. Check your bank statements carefully for unauthorized withdrawals. Be careful of joint accounts as both parties have equal access to the money. When in doubt, contact the bank to stop payments or checks, to flag or put a hold on the account or to close an account.
Judge blasts state workers in Southfield elder-neglect death
October 28. 2009
Jennifer Chambers / The Detroit News
An Oakland County judge blasted the Michigan Department of Human Services today for its repeated failures to take action in a 2007 case of elder neglect so severe it shocked veteran police investigators and resulted in the death of a 63-year-old Southfield woman.
Oakland Circuit Judge Nanci Grant voiced her anger, frustration and shock at the fact that DHS workers had four separate contacts over two years with Stephanie Cooper about the condition of her mother, Agnes, who was found living in squalor, sitting in her own urine and feces and ridden with bedsores, but still took no action and offered no assistance to the Cooper family.
After sentencing, Cooper cried and hugged supporters.
DHS representatives were not immediately available to comment.
Elderly Hesperia woman allegedly beaten by sons dies
By Stacia Glenn
A 74-year-old Hesperia woman who was allegedly beaten by her two sons earlier this month has died, authorities announced today.
Mary Hussey was found lying unconscious on the bedroom floor in her Cashew Street home Oct. 18 after her daughter-in-law called sheriff's deputies and asked them to check on Hussey because she had not been answering the telephone.
Detectives said William Hussey, 51, and Alan Hussey, 50, assaulted their mother on Oct. 16 and left her there alone injured through the weekend. The Hussey brothers were arrested in Baker after a deputy recognized them at an AM/PM convenience store in Baker and found their mother's credit cards inside.
The Hussey brothers were driving to a relative's home in Pahrump, Nev., authorities said.
Mary Hussey died Sunday at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.
The brothers are being held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of murder. The District Attorney's Office has charged them with attempted murder, elder abuse and robbery, but the charges are expected to be amended to murder.
Several years ago, when his elderly aunt lost all her life’s savings in a phony lottery scam, Wayland resident John Siracusa became a crusader against elder fraud.
An FBI agent for 27 years (he retired in 2002), Siracusa has a better handle on this kind of abuse than most.
"My aunt lives alone," he said recently. "She was going away and asked my wife and me to pick up her mail while she was gone. We saw she had stacks and stacks of mail coming in, all of it asking for money in one way or another. It really didn’t dawn on us right away what was going on. Some of her closer relatives realized it before we did."
The bottom line, he went on, is that "she got taken advantage of. It was a hard way to learn about this crime, but the issue is now near and dear to my heart."
Siracusa, who currently works as a fraud investigator in the insurance industry, will share his wisdom on this topic in a presentation starting at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at the Wayland Senior Center.
Older adults who have spent a lifetime earning their savings are prime targets for abusers and crooks who deliberately prey on their generosity, friendliness, mental confusion or loneliness.
The Haliburton Highlands OPP and EMS Haliburton have been honoured for their efforts to stop elder abuse.
Both organizations were awarded plaques from Community Care Haliburton and the Ontario government at presentation at Minden’s OPP detachment on October 26. “Our OPP and EMS respond to abuse cases involving seniors with speed, sensitivity and skills needed to take care of immediate needs,” said Community Care Haliburton executive director Donna MacDonald. “Their knowledge of local community resources ensures that vulnerable seniors receive the follow-up support of agencies, many times members of our network.”
The organization has printed a number of senior safety 2010 calendars and 1,000 of them will be distributed throughout Haliburton County. The calendars offer safety tips and emergency numbers and are free to seniors.
A Washington County nurse is facing elderly abuse charges filed by the State Attorney General's office. 26-year-old Certified Nursing Assistant Cigi Serrevera Snell, surrendered herself at the Jackson County jail in Marianna early this morning. Snell is accused of slapping a 90-year-old woman in the face, while caring for her at the SignatureHealthCareCenter in Jackson County. She was fired from her job because of the alleged incident. Snell is charged with one count of abuse of an elderly adult. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
There are an estimated fourteen thousand cases of elder abuse in Maine every year. And most of them go unreported.
At a seminar in Falmouth on Wednesday, experts talked about the problem. Former Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe says that in most cases it's a family member or caretaker who is physically, emotionally, psychologically or sexually abusing their elderly relative.
Financial exploitation is also a huge problem. Rowe says when it comes to the elderly it's everybody's business to be involved.
"We all have a responsibility to intervene. We need to know our neighbor. If we have an elderly person who lives next door we need to know that person's habits and if we see a change we need to get involved," said Rowe.
All too often, those being abused won't report it. They may be too afraid or too ashamed to come forward. Or they may be so dependent upon the abuser that they see no way out.
But there is plenty of help available. Calling 1-877-ELDERS-1 will connect you to the Area Agency On Aging in your county. Adult Protective Services can be reached at 1-800-624-8404--that is the agency's 24 hour hotline.
Legal Services for the Elderly can also offer assistance. The number there is 1-800-750-5353.
Sexual Assault Agencies can be reached by calling 1-800-871-7741. And Domestic Violence agencies, at 1-800-537-6066.
The families of the alleged abuse victims at Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea — under their organization Families Against Nursing Home Abuse Support & Advocacy Group — have been given a seat on the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project, which aims to reform Minnesota’s Vulnerable Adult Act and other related laws.
The project, which began in 2007, brings together expertise from more than 50 different perspectives, including the state ombudsman for long-term care; elder and disability organizations such as AARP, Alzheimer’s Association and ElderCare Rights Alliance; the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office; the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services; and health care providers, to name a few.
Guilty Plea for Real Estate Agent Charged with Fraud
27 Oct 2009,
A 46-year-old former real estate agent who prosecutors say took advantage of a vulnerable elderly Tucson resident entered a guilty plea Tuesday.
Ammar Dean Halloum, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty to one count of theft/financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, and one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.
Halloum also agreed to pay over $200,000 in restitution to the victim and $30,000 for prosecution costs.
Halloum admitted that while he was working as a licensed real estate agent, he misrepresented himself to gain a title to a Gilbert home. The homeowner, an elderly victim suffering from dementia, was living in a nursing home when the papers were signed.
Halloum then flipped the property and kept the profit.
An investigation from the Elder Abuse Task Force led to Halloum's indictment. His license has since been revoked.
Halloum will face sentencing on Dec. 1 in Pima County Superior Court.
Crown pushes for jail time over veterans’ assaults
Caregiver admitted to mistreatment of elderly patients, co-workers
BY ANDREW SEYMOUR,
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
OCTOBER 27, 2009
Angry family members of sick and elderly war veterans victimized by one of their caregivers at an Ottawa long-term care home took turns telling a judge Monday about the pain they felt knowing the suffering and humiliation their loved ones endured in the final years of their lives.
“I can’t fathom how someone could victimize a person who was so completely helpless; who couldn’t move, eat or speak out for themselves,” said Kathryn Brownlie, whose father, Arthur Kinchen, was one of four patients at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre who Allan Foubert pleaded guilty to assaulting earlier this year. Foubert also admitted to assaulting three co-workers.
Kinchen, who died 18 months ago, was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease when Foubert kneeled on the 85-year-old’s hands until they were bruised and bloodied after he refused to get out of his wheelchair.
Rhode Island’s first program for elderly abuse victims was launched last week by the Saint Elizabeth Community, an elder care organization.
The program, known as the Saint Elizabeth Haven, will utilize the community’s existing nursing homes and apartment complexes in East Greenwich, Providence and Bristol to house elderly individuals in need of immediate services, said Mary Rossetti, the director of community outreach for the organization.
“It’s not a facility in itself, it’s a program,” Rossetti said.
In order to be considered for placement in the transitional, 30-day program, an individual must be over 60, a victim of abuse and willing to leave home, she said. Residents must also be referred to the haven by a partner agency, such as the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs.
Prof Des O'Neill warned: "We have no evidence that the financial and banking sectors have recalibrated their systems to minimise the possibility of elder abuse happening, nor implemented processes to facilitate detection and management of elder abuse when it occurs as have taken place in other jurisdictions." Meanwhile, financial scams were third only to psychological abuse and neglect in the cases of reported abuse inflicted by others on elderly people last year.
The Department of Finance has no direct role in tackling the issue of financial abuse, nor does it regard itself as having any part to play, the report of the Elder Abuse Implementation Group revealed.
Elder abuse can take many forms -- financial, verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual
It can happen anywhere -- in the home, in institutional care facilities, or in public -- and it can take many forms -- financial, verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual, says Gordon Roberts.
Roberts is referring to elder abuse.
"Some of it is systemic, some is the result of neglect, and there is the ageism thing,'' he said, explaining the abuser can be a family member or friend, a stranger preying on a senior's vulnerability, a trustee overseeing the elderly person's financial affairs, or a caregiver.
As regional project co-ordinator for the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), Roberts works with a multidisciplinary team of volunteers, including retired nurses, a social worker, police officers and a physician whose objective is to generate awareness, educate the public about the signs of elder abuse, develop intervention strategies and work towards prevention of this growing problem.
As a volunteer, Roberts was asked to do presentations to the RCMP on elder abuse, which prompted him to do more research on the subject and get involved with NICE.
Elder abuse is a really complex issue, but the odds are high that you know someone who is being abused, Roberts said.
For more information about NICE and elder abuse, readers can log onto (www.nicenet.ca).
A t any given time the Monterey County District Attorney's Office is investigating or prosecuting up to 80 cases of elder abuse.
Of these cases, 90 percent are considered "financial" elder abuse and many involve a bookkeeper or other individual who was providing financial services and took the opportunity to embezzle or otherwise misappropriate funds.
Many elder financial abuse cases could be prevented with similar "double custody" procedures.
As people go through life, some of them might become uncertain about their finances. They may become forgetful and miss payments. Or they may never have had to take care of the finances and the loss of a partner forces them into the role of financial manager.
Often these individuals will employ a person to write checks and keep books. That's when opportunities for mismanagement or financial abuse can arise.
Steps can be taken to avoid the common forms of financial abuse.
The CNN headline read: “Brooke Astor’s Son, His Lawyer Guilty of Bilking Estate.”
Recently, in a very public way, we’ve learned of the disrespectful and greedy actions of Brooke Astor’s son and only child, Anthony Marshall. As his mother progressed into Alzheimer’s dementia, he systematically stole millions of dollars from her estate.
He told her that they were broke and must sell a favorite painting for $10 million. He pocketed a $2 million “commission” for himself. Yet, with all of this, Anthony Marshall forced his mother to live like a pauper.
Mrs. Astor was 105 when she died in August 2007. As seniors are living longer, our chances for one day needing the services of a caregiver are very real.
Usually, people hire caregivers to come into their homes and do the duties that they can no longer do for themselves. For the most part, caregivers are kind, efficient and helpful.
However, we are reading more and more of the criminal types who make a living serving as caregivers while stealing from the elderly. What’s to stop them? The patient often is bedridden, dependent on the caregiver for his or her every need, leaving the caregiver the run of the house and free to steal jewelry, money, whatever catches her fancy.
No state or federal laws require fingerprinting or background checks for caregivers.
Staff writer Kristin Longley contributed to this report.
October 25, 2009
GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan
They are our most fragile and most vulnerable -- and they are not being treated right.
They are being tied down with sheets, being left unsupervised as their caretaker takes a nap, and occasionally being verbally and physically abused, state records show.
In the last two years, Genesee County’s 285 adult foster care facilities have racked up 323 reported violations of state rules, according to a Flint Journal investigation of Michigan Department of Human Services records.
One facility, Sister Love Adult Care in Flint, racked up 27 violations in one year before the state shut it down on July 11. Investigators found residents were suffering from bed sores and not getting their medicines.
And, just this month the state recommended revoking the license of another facility, Carol’s AFC in Flint’s college and cultural neighborhood, after repeated violations.
It is a nightmare come true for many who struggle to find a place where loved ones with mental illness or incapacitated by old age can get the care that family simply can no longer provide.
Diane Nims, the director of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Task Force, believes that most adult foster care homes provide a great service to the community.
A few don’t.
“It’s difficult when you have elderly people with physical and mental problems,” Nims said. “They can be very difficult to work with. And that’s why it’s important to have staff who know how to work with these people.”
The Journal review of state records also showed:
• A patient was confined in a room with duct tape over the door frame in an effort to separate the resident from a neighbor.
• Staff told a patient at one facility to “eat glass.” The individual had a history of self-injury with glass such as swallowing broken light bulbs.
• One patient’s broken leg was not reported for a week, another’s broken arm was not reported for two to three weeks.
• A worker was terminated after admitting to stealing money on several occasions from one resident. She said she needed money for gas.
“I think the problems have always been underreported,” said Nims, who encourages family members to make unannounced visits to facilities.
Seminars should help shield elderly from abuse, scams
OCTOBER 24, 2009
Times are tough and even tougher for some Brevard County seniors.
Seniors 65 and older make up 21 percent of Brevard’s population, or 117,857 persons. Of those, 34,680, or 8.2 percent are 80 and older. Many live on limited, fixed incomes or have seen the retirement savings they rely on for living expenses erode in the recession.
Making matters worse, Beach says scams and fraudulent activities against the elderly in Florida are “getting worse at a rapid rate.”
Statewide, 42,800 cases of elder abuse of persons older than 65 were reported in 2008, a 15 percent increase over the previous year.
Those ugly statistics are why an upcoming series of discussions relevant to seniors, sponsored by Parrish Senior Consultation Center at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, is so timely.
Called a “Crash Course on Aging: Make the Golden Years Shine,” the four meetings are scheduled for Nov. 6, 13, 20 and Dec. 4, at Parrish’s conference center.
The sessions will cover how to avoid medication-related errors that can have dire consequences, legal issues related to late-life planning, the perils of Internet dating and prevention of physical abuse or financial exploitation of the elderly.
.... anyone who suspects abuse can use to report concerns is the elder abuse hotline at 800-96-ABUSE, or 800-962-2873.
Elder abuse is defined as mistreatment or improper treatment that includes physical, sexual, emotional abuse or confinement. Neglect is broader and includes self neglect, which is more common than one would think. Neglect includes not giving proper attention to a person who needs assistance, such as leaving a person unattended who needs care. Self neglect occurs when an individual does not care for their physical or medical needs. Financial exploitation also falls under these categories.
Self neglect occurs in about 48% of cases reported to county social service agencies. Psychological, emotional and physical abuse by family members constitutes 20% of the cases and 13% is represented by financial or material exploitation. (Source: Olinger, David. Elderly Abuse Rising Statewide. Denver Post, 1/23/2005 p. 1a, 8a.). It is surprising to find that family members represent the main source of financial exploiters.
In cases where the mature adult has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia abuse is most common.