NewAmercianMedia.org reports that the most common perpetrators of financial elder abuse are family members. Their crimes range from stealing social security checks to taking over assets and using them for their own means. Seniors who have been the victims of this type of abuse often feel guilt that is reinforced by victim-blaming. When financial elder abuse occurs, there are ways to recover and there are penalties that the abuser must face.
If you have been financially exploited or you believe that a loved one is being financially exploited, the best thing to do is report it to law enforcement or your local adult protective services agency. The earlier the better, experts say, because assets are typically quickly used so that there may be little to recover. Reporting it early can also help family members who have been victimized to get the kind of counseling that they may need to recover from the depression that often follows this kind of exploitation.
Taking action to recover losses is important, but so is preventing revictimization. Isolation and loneliness are factors that increase the potential for victimization. Checking in frequently with elder family members can help to reduce this and prevent victimization.
When it comes to the abuser, many states have made the financial exploitation of seniors a crime. Some of these states even have enhanced penalties – meaning more jail time for the abusers – who could face additional charges. A handful of states have laws on the books that allow a victim to sue their abuser to recover losses. Unfortunately, there are limits to the recovery. Victims can often only recover their losses – not additional money such as attorney’s fees. However, certain states allow victims who have cognitive or mental disabilities to sue for multiple times the amount loss, allowing them to recover these fees.
If you or a loved one are the victim of financial elder abuse, contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. We will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.