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$ FINANCIAL CRIMES $
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  1. $ FINANCIAL CRIMES$ for Police Detectives NYC Elder Abuse Training Project

  2. 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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Emotional and physical abuse • Used to intimidate and coerce victim

  8. Trust factor • Exploitation by trusted person more upsetting than theft/fraud by stranger

  9. Misdemeanor charges (NYS) • Petit Larceny • Forgery (and related charges) • Fraudulently Obtaining a Signature • Unlawful Use of a Credit Card

  10. Felony charges (NYS) • Burglary • Forgery (and related charges) • Grand Larceny • Grand Larceny by Extortion • Robbery • Scheme to Defraud

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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