Financial Abuse

February 10th, 2016 by Attorney Roger Weinberg

There are people in the world who will do just about anything for a dollar. That includes those who exploit the disabled and elderly who aren’t capable of making good financial decisions. By pretending to give good advice or by engaging in identity theft, fraud, forgery or threat of violence, these individuals steal whatever they can from people who often don’t have much to lose. We represent those in Maryland who are the victims of financial abuse in order to make it stop and to seek a financial recovery from responsible parties.

According to a study by the MetLife Mature Markets Institute, Virginia Tech and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse released in 2011:

  • The annual, estimated financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is at least $2.9 billion dollars, up 12% from the 2008 estimate of $2.6 billion.
  • Women were nearly twice as likely to be victims of elder financial abuse as men, and most victims were between the ages of 80 and 89.
  • In nearly every case victims were barely hanging on to their independence and were obviously vulnerable (due to limited mobility or mental competence) opening the door to financial abuse by every type of perpetrator from family members to professional criminals.
  • Perpetrators used deceit, threats and emotional manipulation. Physical and sexual violence often occurred during the time of financial exploitation.

The study found that elder financial abuse generally occurs in three types of situations:

  • Occasion or opportunity: The victim is at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the perpetrator takes advantage of the person.
  • Desperation: The perpetrator is desperate for money and exploits someone who is older or disabled in order to get what he or she needs. Many of these abusers are dependent on the elder relative for housing and money.
  • Predation or occupation: Trust is generated to facilitate financial abuse. A relationship as a trusted professional advisor or care giver is built, and that relationship is exploited to generate income for the perpetrator.

Financial abuse can occur in nursing homes and other long term care facilities. Employees may do one or more of the following:

  • Have a resident sign a document allowing the perpetrator access to financial accounts by lying about the true nature of the documents, or the resident may lack mental capacity and not understand what they’re doing,
  • Create a false relationship of care and trust and convince the resident they will benefit if the perpetrator has access to the resident’s money.
  • Take advantage of elderly suffering from dementia or nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimers.
  • Threaten the resident with violence if they don’t provide access to their finances or report their extortion to management or the police.
  • Steal money or financial information while the resident is asleep or unaware of what’s going on.

We can file a legal action against those who commit these acts and the nursing homes or long-term care facilities who allowed this to happen. Liability by nursing homes or long-term care facilities may be shown if the facility was negligent in one of these ways:

  • Hiring those who committed the exploitation (due to a failure to check for a criminal background or determine if there were cases of abuse at prior employers)
  • Failing to supervising the employee
  • Failing to prevent this foreseeable harm to a resident due to insufficient security.

If you or a loved one have suffered financial abuse in a nursing home, group home or other long-term care facility in Maryland, we can help you stop the abuse and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. At the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, you’ll find compassionate support and experienced advocates to help your family through the tough times. Call 410-825-3161 today to schedule a free consultation.

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