Upheld Astor case convictions underscore elder abuse crime
Mar 26, 2013 2:30 PM
Anthony D. Marshall
A New York appellate court's decision today to uphold most of the 2009 conviction counts against Anthony D. Marshall, charged with defrauding his mother, the late philanthropist Brooke Astor, calls attention to a crime that's growing nationwide: financial elder abuse.
Marshall, 88, will go to jail for one to three years for stealing from his centogenarian mother's multimillion-dollar fortune at a time when she was not physically or mentally competent enough to make her own financial decisions, says a report by the New York Daily News. His lawyers argued unsuccessfully before the Manhattan Appellate Division that someone as old as Marshall should not be subject to prison.
The conviction of Francis Morrissey, an attorney working with Marshall, also was upheld. Morrissey was found guilty of forging Astor's name on a fake will.
Sadly, for every successfully argued case, many other situations involving financial exploitation of elders don't get reported, much less prosecuted. And law-enforcement officials and adult protective services experts say the crime is growing in frequency. In a recent Consumer Reports investigation of financial elder abuse, we discovered a multitude reasons for the tragedy. Often, older people are often ashamed or in denial. Sometimes they are afraid to turn in the perpetrators for fear of retribution. Or, they may not even realize what's being done to them. Saddest of all--and often very hard to identify--are cases in which the person committing the crime is a family member, like Marshall.
Siblings Robert L. Fuller and Doris A. Fuller a.k.a. Doris Fuller Stewart, their attorney Daniel K. Lak are still at large.