According to a recent MetLife study, the 21st century cost of financial elder abuse approaches a staggering figure: $2.9 billion each year. With recent trends indicating a meteoric rise in the incidence of elder abuse in the United States, perhaps the only silver lining to this sad sad story, is the fact that the national media has finally awaken from its slumber: financial elder abuse was widely publicized at last month’s annual National Senior Citizen’s Day. The government has also been moved to action in the fight against financial elder abuse.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report this month designed to aide assisted living and nursing facility staff to better detect instances of elder abuse among those under their tutelage. Not only does the guide offer practical assistance to help notice the tell-tale signs of financial abuse and mistreatment, but also 0ffers guidance on how to properly document and report such abuse. Since much of the abuse of elders involves their great wealth accrued over a lifetime, the American Bankers Association partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons to help elders prevent financial elder abuse.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a department of the United States Treasury issued a report, encouraging banks to help in the fight against financial elder abuse by disclosing cases of financial elder abuse via suspicious activity report forms (these are the very same forms banks use when disclosing suspicion of money laundering.)
Surprisingly, while financial elder abuse reportedly costs the nation $2.9 billion per year according to the MetLife report, presently there is no federal law criminalizing elder abuse. The issue of elder abuse is left to the states – and only California and Florida have laws requiring financial elder abuse reports. While states less populated than California and Florida have state departments on aging, and provide their citizenry with toll-free hotline numbers, they are ill equipped to efficiently manage reports of financial elder abuse between local law enforcement, the state attorney general, and state aging departments. Even in California, with a population exceeding 37 million, and a gross domestic product that annually places the state among the world’s top ten largest economies, there is no budget to adequately fund investigators; hence, much of the elder abuse in California goes unreported. What is the saying: “Dead men tell no tales…”
Evans Law Firm, Inc. based in San Francisco, California is dedicated to protecting the elderly from abuse. The firm’s practice areas include: Elder Abuse; Financial Elder Abuse; Physical Elder Abuse; Estate Planning; Annuities Fraud; Insurance Fraud; Personal Injury; and Whistleblower Law. If you feel you or someone you know have been a victim elder abuse, contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. for a free and confidential consultation at (415) 441-8669 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.