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

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Presentation on theme: "$ FINANCIAL CRIMES $ for Police Detectives NYC Elder Abuse Training Project."— Presentation transcript:

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

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