Elder Fraud and Abuse
FAQs on Elder Fraud and Abuse
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In the news, an elderly Pittsylvania man recently obtained an unprecedented 1.3 million dollar verdict against one of his daughters and her husband for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and false imprisonment. (Doss v. Doss, Pittsylvania Circuit court)For more information on this case of elder abuse, request the Winter 2009 issue of our e-newsletter, VA Law Talk. (Volume 6, issue 1)
Are there indicators that an older person may be a victim of fraud?
Yes, the National Committe of the Prevention of Elder Abuse lists the following possible indicators of fraud:
1) Unpaid bills, eviction notices, or notices to discontinue utilities
2) Withdrawals from bank accounts or t ransfers between accounts that the older person cannot explain
3) Bank statements and canceled checks no longer come to the elder's home
4) New "best friends"
5) Legal documents, such as powers of attorney, whic the older person didn't understand at the time he or she signed them
6) Unusual activity int he older personn's bank accounts including large, unexplaied withdrawals, frequent transfers between accounts, or ATM withdrawals
7) The care of the elder is not commensurate with the size of his/her estate
8) A caregiver expresses excessive interest int he amount of money being spent on the older person
9) Missing belongings or property
10) Suspicious signatures on check or other documents
11) Absence of documentation about financial arrangements
12) Implausible explanations given about the elderly persons finances by the elder or the caregiver
13) The elder is unaware of or does not understand financial arrangements that have been made for him or her
What can I do if I suspect a friend, neighbor or relative is the victim of elder fraud or abuse?
You can report your suspicians to the Department of Social Services, Adult Protective Service Division. If there is criminal activity or suspected criminal activity, you can report your suspicians to the local police department or the office of the Commonwealth's Attorney. If you suspect that a patient of a nursing home or extended care facility is being abused, you can contact the Virginia Ombudsman for your area.
If you suspect an elderly person is being abused or defrauded in the City of Colonial Heights, you should contact Bill Bray, Commonwealth's Attorney for the City.
What if the elderly person refuses help?
The elderly person has every right to refuse help, unless he/she is incompetent.
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