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$ FINANCIAL CRIMES $. for Police Detectives NYC Elder Abuse Training Project. Financial exploitation. Illegal or improper use of the resources of an older individual for personal benefit, profit or gain Misuse of a Power Of Attorney. Financial exploitation includes.

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$ FINANCIAL CRIMES$

for Police Detectives

NYC Elder Abuse Training Project


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Financial exploitation

  • Illegal or improper use of the resources of an older individual for personal benefit, profit or gain

  • Misuse of a Power Of Attorney


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Financial exploitation includes

  • “fraud, false pretenses, embezzlement, conspiracy, forgery, falsifying records, coerced property transfers or denial of access to assets.” NYS SSL§473.6


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Signs in the Victim’s environment

  • Deviations in financial habits

  • Numerous unpaid bills

  • Checks made to cash

  • Disparity between lifestyle and assets

  • Personal belongings missing

  • Unprecedented transfer of assets

  • Elder unaware of monthly income


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Signs in the Caregiver/Abuser

  • Makes all banking transactions

  • Makes all investment decisions

  • Receives expensive gifts from senior

  • Asks only financial questions

  • Refuses to spend on elder’s care

  • Misuses Power of Attorney


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Exploiter is often:

  • Unemployed relative (e.g., child, grandchild)

  • Dependent on elderly victim

  • Alcohol or drug-addicted and/or emotionally disturbed

  • Or paid caregiver, friend, fiduciary


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Emotional and physical abuse

  • Used to intimidate and coerce victim


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Trust factor

  • Exploitation by trusted person more upsetting than theft/fraud by stranger


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Misdemeanor charges (NYS)

  • Petit Larceny

  • Forgery (and related charges)

  • Fraudulently Obtaining a Signature

  • Unlawful Use of a Credit Card


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Felony charges (NYS)

  • Burglary

  • Forgery (and related charges)

  • Grand Larceny

  • Grand Larceny by Extortion

  • Robbery

  • Scheme to Defraud


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Concomitant offenses (NYS)

  • Violations: Harassment, Trespass

  • Misdemeanors: Assault 3°, Criminal Contempt, Coercion 2°, Jostling, Menacing, Stalking, Endangering the Welfare of and Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, Intimidation of/Tampering with a Witness

  • Felonies: Assault 1° and 2°, Coercion 1°,

    Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person 1° and 2°, Kidnapping, Unlawful Imprisonment


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Types of Financial Exploitation

  • Telemarketing fraud, identity theft, living will scams, lottery scams, home-improvement frauds

    • Usually perpetrated by strangers

    • Not covered in detail here

    • “Trust” crimes covered in detail below


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Types of exploitation (continued)

  • Changes in patterns of spending and bank withdrawals

    • Withdrawals and gifts can be legitimate

  • Money missing from joint accounts

    • Did senior have capacity to sign?


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Types of exploitation (continued)

  • Forgery of check or credit card signatures

  • Misuse of ATM or debit cards

  • Fraudulent wills and property transfers

  • Theft of money or property by home health aide


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Types of exploitation (continued)

  • Theft of money by attorneys, brokers, court-appointed guardians, Rep Payees

  • Misuse of a Power of Attorney

    • Improperly obtained

    • Improperly used


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Powers of Attorney

  • Only covers designated financial transactions, not healthcare decisions or nursing home placement

  • Forms sold in stores multi-page; exploiter can substitute pages indicating broader powers than victim agreed to

  • Not valid if coerced or signer lacked capacity


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Capacity

  • Capacity = ability to perform a task

  • Mental capacity focuses on mental processes (e.g., remembering, reasoning, understanding consequences)

  • Decisional capacity = ability to make an informed decision


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Capacity (continued)

  • Testamentary capacity relates to wills

  • Capacity to sign contracts includes understanding consequences

  • For consent, individual must

    • Understand transaction

    • Have mental capacity to contract

    • Act voluntarily, free of threats/force


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Undue influence

  • “the substitution of one person’s will for the true desires of another”

  • Used as means to exploit

  • Devastating to victim

    • Material loss

    • Personal loss of power


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Undue influence (continued)

  • Perpetrators may isolate victim

  • May convince victim no one else cares for them

  • Can be asserted in court to support exploitation charges


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Financial management

  • Some self-neglecting older adults need help with finances

  • APS offers “financial management”

  • Community agencies offer “daily money management”

  • Contact area agency on aging for referral source


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Structured interview

  • Difficult to get facts you need for case if older adults become unfocused and confused

  • Solution: Use predetermined questions to keep interview focused

    • Be sure they do not conflict with department protocols


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Concluding remarks

  • Financial exploitation fastest growing form of elder abuse

  • Often leads to early death

  • Perpetrators tend to leave trail of evidence; “Follow the money”

  • Team with other investigators and forensic accountants