On Tuesday, George “Zeb” Patten Jr., 48, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft over $10,000 in Hamilton County Criminal Court. Judge Rebecca Stern ordered him to pay $100,000 restitution over the next six years to his sister’s estate while he serves probation.
His sister, Terry Alice Patten, died last year from complications of early-onset dementia.
The siblings are descendants of the Patten family, which included brothers Zeboim Cartter Patten and George Washington Patten. The family has connections to Chattem, Patten Towers, Coca-Cola Bottling and other historical backbone businesses of the region.
Research nationally and in Tennessee shows that elders and the disabled are increasingly victims of financial exploitation and that much of the time it is family or close friends committing the abuse.
A 2009 study by the National Center on Elder Abuse showed 90 percent of overall elder abuse — physical, sexual, financial — was committed by family members.
Financial exploitation specifically was done by family 34 percent of the time.
The same group analyzed reported incidents of elder abuse for a three-month period in 2010 and estimated $2.9 billion was taken from the elderly, a 12 percent increase from 2008.
LEARN MORE: http://timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jul/29/broken-trust-relatives-friends-most-often-behind-a/