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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 numbers are staggering. Just one in every 44 cases of financial abuse of the elderly is ever reported.
That number is growing in Hamilton County.
The sad fact is, most elderly financial abuse, is done by either a relative, or someone close to the victim.
This is a look at what's being called, "an absolutely incredible act of betrayal."
After working so many years as a mechanic and heavy equipment operator, Tom McGinnis thought he and his wife Faye had everything they needed for retirement. But that nest egg was built on years of scrimping and saving.
"I reckon we thought we could live on love or something," he says.
Over the years, they bought commodities including gold, silver, platinum, jewelrycollectibles and valuable heirlooms, stored in this safe at home, and money saved in the bank.
When Faye McGinnis passed away three years ago, their granddaughter Jacqueline Reihl and her husband Ronnie moved in, supposedly to take care of Mr. McGinnis..
He says he suspected nothing, until one day he went to the bank and found his account cleaned out. "It had to be them," he says.
He went home to check on his safe, and found a roll of quarters, broke open on the floor. "They were lying right there," he pointed to the spot. "Right there is the paper roll they were in."
He feared the worse. "When I found all this out and they KNEW that I had found out, they left," he says.
And that's when he also discovered what they'd been up to over the past year.. buying expensive cars, TV's, computers, and hundreds of lottery tickets. He says they also took lavish trips.
"I felt like killing 'em," he remembers. "That's what I felt like."
Mr. McGinnis estimates his loss at almost $700,000 dollars.