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					Financial Exploitation of the
           Elderly
 Presented by Brian Krase Esq., and Bonnie
                 Dahl, Esq.

            SeniorLAW Center

         Thursday, October 13, 2011
o Largest provider of legal services to seniors in
  Pennsylvania
o Independent non-profit organization
o Serving over 10,000 seniors each year with:
   o direct individual representation
   o legal advice, information & referral services
   o community legal education
   o professional training
   o systemic reform
o Legal staff and pro bono panel
o Celebrating over 30 Years of
  Service (1978 – 2011)
Projects and Clinics:

   Homeowners Assistance Program

   Project S.A.F.E.
    (Stop Abuse & Financial Exploitation)

   Serving Older Women Victims Of Violence & Sexual Assault

   Kin C.A.N. (“Kinship Caregiver Assistance Network”)

   The Hospice and Home Care Legal Project

   Fostering Connections to Kinship Care (DHS, abuse and neglect)

   Community-Based Legal Services, including home and hospital
    visits and neighborhood legal clinics throughout Philadelphia
Projects and Clinics (cont.):

   Legal Services for Asian Elders

   Pension Rights Project

   Legal Services For Hispanic Elders

   Pennsylvania SeniorLAW HelpLine 1 877 PA SR LAW
         Senior Citizens –Financial
           Exploitation Statistics
   Pennsylvania has the 3rd largest aging population in
    the U.S. – 20% of Pennsylvania residents are 60+
    years old (25% predicted for 2020) Older Americans
    Act

   Seniors age 60 or older account for about 15% of
    the U.S. Population, but comprise 30% of financial
    fraud victims. (FTC)

   Family members and caregivers steal $2.6 billion
    from the elderly each year (FTC)
              Financial Exploitation

   What is financial exploitation?

   Signs of Financial Exploitation


   Financial Exploitation of Senior can
    occur:
       Without the senior’s knowledge
       By trickery, intimidation, or coercion, or
       When the senior is too confused to give informed
        consent
      Financial Exploitation (cont.)


   Why senior victims fail to report
    financial exploitation:

   Generally victims of financial
    exploitation are:
           Financial Exploitation (cont.)
How to recognize Identity Theft and Fraud

   Denied credit for no apparent reason.

   Receive calls or letters from debt collectors about
    merchandise they didn’t purchase.

   Monitor credit reports (order quarterly – one from each
    credit reporting agency)
     Look for Unknown creditors appearing on credit report.

   Read all monthly credit card statements
     Look for unknown charges on monthly credit card statement.

   Monitor monthly bank statements for any unusual
    withdrawals.
        Financial Exploitation (cont.)
    What senior must do if they have been a victim of
                   credit card fraud

   File a police report and ask for a copy or incident report number
    (DC#)

   Order credit report from one of 3 credit reporting agencies

   Place fraud alerts with each of the credit reporting agencies:
           Experian: 1-888-397-3742
           Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
           Transunion: 1-800-680-7289

   Consider credit freeze

   Call all companies where an account has been misused or opened
    fraudulently. Close or flag as necessary.

   Prepare an affidavit of fraud (must be notarized). Send to
    creditor(s).

   File a complaint with the FTC (www.ftc.gov)
        Financial Exploitation (cont.)
        After senior has reported credit card fraud

   If no response within 30 days send a letter informing
    creditor that they are in violation if they continue to
    attempt to collect on the debt.

   If creditor finds there is fraud, the fraudulent charges will
    be wiped off the account.

   If creditor refuses to believe the charges are fraudulent,
    senior can discuss options of settling or wait until they are
    sued.

   Contact credit reporting agencies to have credit report
    corrected.
        Financial Exploitation (cont.)
                           Criminal Action

                18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4120 Identity Theft

   A person commits the offense of identity theft of another person
    if he possessed or uses, through any means, identifying
    information of another person without the consent of that other
    person to further any unlawful purpose.

    42 Pa.C.S.A.§ 9717 Sentences for offenses against elderly
                             persons

   Mandatory sentence.—A person under 60 years of age convicted
    of the following offenses when the victim is over 60 years of age
    and not a police officer shall be sentenced to a mandatory term of
    imprisonment as follows:
     (relating to theft by deception)—not less than 12 months . . .
    sentence shall be discretionary with the court . . . .

   Request restitution.
     UNAUTHORIZED USE OF BANK
            ACCOUNTS

   Notify bank of unauthorized us and confirm in writing.
   Revoke any power of attorney.

   Close all accounts
   Open new account at another bank

   Notify payers of direct deposits (e.g. Social Security &
    Pension)

   Change automatic debit payment to new account

   Order bank statements for period in question

   File a report with the police and ask for a copy or incident
    report number (DC#)
Unauthorized Use of Bank Accounts
              (cont.)

What senior can do if a victim of unauthorized
             use of bank account

   File a criminal complaint
      Seek restitution

      Apply for victim’s compensation



   File a civil complaint
      Requesting damages for amount of money
       stolen, plus attorneys fees & costs.
        JOINT BANK ACCOUNT
             PROBLEMS
   A joint account with another means that
    both of the joint owners have access to
    the money in the account. The joint
    owner does not need to use your money
    for you!

   There are two types of joint accounts:

    1) Account held by “Senior or Another”

    2) Account held by “Senior and Another”
How to Detect Exploitation of Joint
         Bank Account




   Always review your statement!
 What if Senior has been a victim of
Exploitation by Joint Account Holder
   The bank will not be liable if the owner
    withdrawals senior’s money and deprives senior
    of the funds.
   However, if senior can prove that it was his/her
    funds that contributed to the account, senior may
    hold the other owner liable.
   During the lifetime of the parties, each party is
    entitled to the amount in the account in
    proportion to their net contributions.
   A civil action may be filed to try and get return of
    the misappropriated funds
        Abuse of Financial Power of
                 Attorney
   A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document in which
    an individual grants to another the power to handle
    his or her affairs. The person granting the powers is
    called the “principal,” and the person who is given
    the powers is called the “agent.”

   The agent has the power to:
     make financial decisions
     powers can be broad or limited

   When you sign a POA, you are not “giving away”
    your right to act for yourself, but allowing someone
    else to act in addition to yourself, and make financial
    decisions.
          Abuse of Financial Power of
               Attorney (Cont.)
                                    Required Notice

           THE PURPOSE OF THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY IS TO GIVE THE PERSON YOU DESIGNATE (YOUR
    “AGENT”) BROAD POWERS TO HANDLE YOUR PROPERTY, WHICH MAY INCLUDE POWERS TO SELL OR
    OTHERWISE DISPOSE OF ANY REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY WITHOUT ADVANCE NOTICE TO YOU OR
    APPROVAL BY YOU.

           THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY DOES NOT IMPOSE A DUTY ON YOUR AGENT TO EXERCISE GRANTED
    POWERS, BUT WHEN POWERS ARE EXERCISED, YOUR AGENT MUST USE DUE CARE TO ACT FOR YOUR
    BENEFIT AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY.

           YOUR AGENT MAY EXERCISE THE POWERS GIVEN HERE THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFETIME, EVEN
    AFTER YOU BECOME INCAPACITATED, UNLESS YOU EXPRESSLY LIMIT THE DURATION OF THESE POWERS
    OR REVOKE THESE POWERS OR A COURT ACTING ON YOUR BEHALF TERMINATES YOUR AGENT’S
    AUTHORITY.

           YOUR AGENT MUST KEEP YOUR FUNDS SEPARATE FROM YOUR AGENT’S FUNDS.

           A COURT CAN TAKE AWAY THE POWERS OF YOUR AGENT IF IT FINDS THAT YOUR AGENT IS NOT
    ACTING PROPERLY.

            THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF AN AGENT UNDER A POWER OF ATTORNEY ARE EXPLAINED MORE
    FULLY IN 20 PA.C.S. Ch. 56.

           IF THERE IS ANYTHING ABOUT THIS FORM THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND, YOU SHOULD ASK
    A LAWYER OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING TO EXPLAIN IT TO YOU.

           I HAVE READ OR HAD EXPLAINED TO ME THIS NOTICE AND I UNDERSTAND ITS CONTENTS.


Dated:____________                             ______________________
                                               PRINCIPAL’S NAME
      Abuse of Financial Power of
           Attorney (cont.)
                    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

  I, AGENT’S NAME, have read the attached power of attorney and I
  am the person identified as the Agent for the principal. I hereby
  acknowledge that in the absence of a specific provision to the
  contrary in the power of attorney or in 20 Pa.C.S. when I act as
  Agent:

       I shall exercise the powers for the benefit of the principal.

       I shall keep the assets of the principal separate from my
       assets.

       I shall exercise reasonable caution and prudence.

       I shall keep a full and accurate record of all action, receipts
       and disbursements on behalf of the principal.

Dated:_______________               ________________________
                                    AGENT’S NAME
        Abuse of Financial Power of
             Attorney (cont.)

   How to protect yourself
       No one watches over your agent but you.
       You need to be sure your agent is trustworthy.
       Always review your financial statements and
        demand disclosure. You should appoint a
        co-agent if you are not in a position to monitor
        you financial statements. They will have
        oversight of each other to ensure that no
        exploitation is occurring.
       Demand that the agent inform you of all his or
        her decisions
       Abuse of Financial Power of
            Attorney (cont.)
Revoke if you suspect abuse!

If you suspect that your agent is abusing his or her
powers, you can withdraw the POA by revoking it.

This revocation must be done in writing.

Mail original to POA by CRRR and regular mail.

Provide a copy of the revocation to all financial
Institutions.

Remove other party as signatory for all accounts.
      Abuse of Financial Power of
           Attorney (cont.)

If you discover that your finances
 have been misused it is important
           to act quickly

   Revoke power of attorney
   Financial Exploitation

   Civil suit for damages

   Criminal: Theft by failure to make required
    disposition of funds received.
                Deed Transfers
Some Reasons seniors may want to add
       someone to their deed:

   To avoid probate,

   Fear of losing their house if they go into
    nursing home,

   Want to ensure that their child(ren) will get
    the house.
                      Deed Transfers (cont.)
   Cons to adding another person to deed:

       Senior no longer owns the house.

       A low-income senior will no longer be eligible for real estate tax rebates,
        discounts on utilities, or homeowner repairs grants.

       A joint owner may take out a loan or mortgage against the property and senior
        risks losing their home if the other person stops paying the loan.

       Senior cannot sell their house without the permission of the other person on the
        deed.

       The other owner can move into the property whether senior wants them to or
        not.

       The other owner may seek to partition the property and have court order the
        property sold so that the other owner can get their financial share of the
        property.

       The other owner who does not reside in the property may request payment of
        rent from senior for their sole use of the property.

       Medicaid eligibility may be compromised.

       Judgments against other co-owner will become liens on the property.
           Deed Transfer (cont.)


   It is very hard to set aside a deed
    change, or reverse it
   Even if senior were sick or
    confused, didn’t read what he/she
    signed, or changed their mind later,
    these are not reasons that will put
    your deed back into their own name
    alone.
      Deed Transfers (cont.)

Best Protection of the Senior

“Don’t add another person to
 their deed.”
Brief Overview of Scams to be aware
                 of
Spotting an Imposter: Scammers pose as
Friends, Family and Government
Agencies:
   They want you to wire money:
     It’s like sending cash; once it’s gone you can’t get it back.
   They want you to pay to collect your winnings:
     Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay insurance, taxes,
    or shipping to claim what you’ve won.
   They claim to be a government agent:
     No federal or government agency supervises or runs sweepstakes.
   They claim to be someone you care about who is in trouble:
     Call the genuine number of the person they claim to be and check
    out the story. You can also ask the caller questions that stranger
    could not possibly answer
   They want you to act now:
     Resist the pressure to act immediately before you’ve checked it out.
            Examples of Scams

   Bank Examiner Scam
   Pigeon Drop
   Grandparent Scam
   Telemarketing and Mail Fraud
   You’ve just won a prize
   Unsolicited Work
   New Legislation Postcard Scam
   Debt Relief
   Phishing scams
   Advance fee loan scams
   Nigerian advance fee fraud
            Where to Report Fraud

   Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
    Phone: 717-787-3391 Website: www.attorneygeneral.gov


   Federal Trade Commission
    Phone: 1-877-382-4357 Website: www.ftc.gov

   FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
    Phone: 215-418-4000    Website: www.fbi.gov

   U.S. Postal Service
    Phone: 1-888-8777644   Website: www.uspsoig.gov

   Pennsylvania Fraud Hotlines:
    Elder Abuse Unit: 1-866-623-2137
    Consumer Protection: 1-800-441-2555
                    Bottom Line

If you have been a victim of a
scam, odds are you will never see
your money again.

Your best protection is to
educate yourself to recognize a
scam when you see or hear one!

Great Education Materials on Scams are found at
www.ftc.org
Contact Information

   Brian Krase, Esquire
    bkrase@seniorlawcenter.org
    215-701-3212


   Bonnie Dahl, Esquire
    bdahl@seniorlawcenter.org
    215-701-3209

				
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