23 February 2015

Elder Abuse, Financial Elder Abuse, Murder, Bedsores...

It wasn’t until a month after her father died that Linda Magel discovered something awry.

Sifting through boxes of bank statements, she realized $118,000 of her father’s life savings was missing, withdrawn from a Chase Bank branch her father had never stepped foot in.

After a months-long investigation, it became clear that John “Jack” Magel, a Livermore resident who suffered from dementia and early onset Alzheimer’s disease, had been swindled by a bank employee, who made off with a certificate of deposit worth $105,000 and other withdrawals using forged signatures. Magel, who wanted to pass the money to his heirs, died from cancer and Alzheimer’s in March at age 91.

A Grayridge man is in custody after allegedly abusing his mother and holding a gun to her head.

Michael Davis, 40, of Grayridge, was arrested Monday after a domestic assault call to the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department concerning an altercation Davis had with his mother, according to a police report. It was allegedly during that assault Davis had put a gun to her head.

The Prunedale man accused of killing his father and keeping the decomposed body hidden made an initial court appearance, but did not enter a plea to charges of murder and elder abuse.
Defense attorney Scott Erdbacher asked the arraignment of Matthew Roberts, 34, on charges in the death of 70-year-old Jerry Roberts, be continued to March 5. Monterey Superior Court Judge Marla Anderson granted the request. It was not immediately clear if Erdbacher will remain as Roberts' attorney; he told Anderson he was there by special appearance.

For some time researchers, including those under the aegis of the U.S. government, have estimated the extent of losses to seniors each year from financial abuse to be $2.9B per year.  A new study by True Link, a private financial services company, concludes that the actual figure is over twelve times previous estimates, or $36.48 billion each year.

What gives the study credibility to me is certainly not that it was sponsored by a financial services organization that wants you to buy its online protection tools. Rather, it’s that according to their report, the design of this survey was guided by recommendations of an expert panel of fraud researchers convened by the Financial Fraud Research Center at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Every research study I have read on elder abuse, which includes hundreds of pages reflecting years of data collected tells us that most cases of financial elder abuse are not reported.

A case of alleged elder abuse in west St. Louis County is bringing attention to a problem that experts say is getting worse.

Fifty-six-year-old Timothy Barnes is charged with abusing his 82-year-old mother. Court documents show Barnes is accused of allowing his mother to live in total decay, among mold, feces, and broken glass. Police say she was deprived of food and clean water. And, the documents say she'd been bed-ridden for a year, and hadn't bathed in six months. Those documents also say the victim's other son would try and help, but Barnes would threaten him.

Experts say similar cases of alleged abuse go unreported all the time.

"It can be very devastating, to know that someone is either being treated like that, or has been treated in a manner that is inappropriate," said Donna Jasper, a social worker at the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging in St. Louis County.

Jasper has been in the business for 20 years. While she says abuse cases are 'not the norm,' even one case is too many.

"Primarily when you think about the frail senior adults that are most at risk, and someone can put them in such a situation that would cause them harm," said Jasper.

"They do it because the person is vulnerable, and they're not able to fight back unfortunately," said Mary Schaefer, executive director of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging.

A former social worker with the Alabama Department of Human Resources pleaded guilty Monday to allegations that she abused her elderly, mentally handicapped brother, according to court records.

Yolanda Genean Thurman, 43, entered a blind plea to one count of elder abuse and neglect on the same day jurors gathered to be chosen for her trial.

The plea means Thurman could face as many as 20 years in the penitentiary.

Mobile County deputies arrested Thurman on May 21, 2013, after her brother, 74-year-old Byrd Bunkley Jr., was found covered in bed sores and malnourished while laying in his own feces, according to investigators. Thurman was her brother's caregiver. Bunkley requires round-the-clock care.

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said Bunkley's condition was so poor when deputies found him that some of his bedsores required skin grafts.

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