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ELDER ABUSE IS A CRIME?
Res ipsa loquitur
"Of all the illegal and illicit enterprises in the world, elder exploitation is among the safest and most profitable."
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The California State Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 15610.30 defines financial abuse as “a situation in which a person, including but not limited to, one who has care or custody of or who stands in a position of trust, of an elder or dependent adult, takes, secretes, or appropriates their money or property, to any wrongful use, or with the intent to defraud.”
In other words, a person of trust takes advantage of a person financially, typically over the age of 65, who may also be vulnerable physically or mentally.
I am grateful that no one in my family has been subjected to financial abuse (at least, not that I know of), and I hope it never occurs. But the signs are not always easy to see. This means it’s up to seniors and their loved ones to learn how to recognize financial abuse in the act.
Types of Elder Financial Abuse
A recent survey conducted by non-profit Investor Protection Trust (IPT) revealed that financial exploitation of elderly is occurring frequently. The survey shared some of the more common forms of abuse out there:
1. Theft by Family Member
Unfortunately, theft at the hands of a family member is more common that many people might think. While most assume family members would never harm a loved one, challenging economic times can bring out the worst in people.
For instance, a grandparent may be in a hospital for an extended amount of time, and family members realize expensive items have been left in the home. It’s not uncommon for those family members to take the items for themselves.
Other times, family members who are responsible for cashing Social Security checks or paying bills may take a portion or all of the money for themselves.