Reporting Financial Elder Abuse
The California Department of Justice estimates that every year one in twenty elders will become the victim of abuse. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only one in fourteen acts of elder abuse are reported. Reporting suspected abuse is critical and can save another's assets, health, dignity, retirement savings and even their life.
The same reporting requirements for physical elder abuse apply to financial elder abuse. Anybody who is concerned that financial elder abuse is taking place should err on the side of caution and report their suspicions. Under California law, certain individuals, known as mandated reporters, are required to report actual and suspected abuse of an elder or dependent adult. These typically include all individuals licensed to work in residential care facilities or nursing homes, physicians, health care providers and any person who assumes responsibility for care or custody of an elder. Effective January 1, 2007, officers and employees of financial institutions were added to the list of mandated reporters. The failure to report financial elder abuse can result in criminal charges.
The major difference between reporting financial elder abuse and physical elder abuse is where and to whom the reports are made. It is always appropriate to contact local law enforcement as well as Adult Protective Services in your area. In addition, if the elder has been scammed out of money by a consumer fraud scam, contact the District Attorney's office in the county where you reside. If an insurance agent has defrauded the elder, you can contact the State Insurance Commissioner's office. For problems with real estate brokers or mortgage lenders, you can contact the California Department of Real Estate.
Sadly, many of the worst financial abusers are individuals the elder trusts. To suddenly realize that someone they trust has been taking advantage of them may be difficult to internalize. For the mental health of the senior who has been taken advantage of, it is important they understand they are not at fault for the abuser's actions. No one should be taken advantage of in such a way, especially those who are least capable of defending themselves.
For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced financial elder abuse attorney, please call us directly at (866) 338-7079, or click here to submit your inquiry online.