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The New York Post called it the “swindle trial.” Jurors likened it to a “Shakespearean tragedy.” When New York socialite Anthony D.
Marshall was convicted of defrauding and stealing from his elderly mother, philanthropist Brooke Astor, reports detailed how he conspired with lawyer Francis Morrissey to amend her will in his favor, took millions without her consent, and lifted paintings from her walls while she languished in her Park Avenue home.
Elder financial abuse is “the ultimate betrayal,” says Colleen Toy White, a superior court judge in Ventura County, Calif., who sees roughly 40 cases of such abuse each month.
“It’s shocking to see how vulnerable the elder person is.” We’ve told you about scams by strangers, among them fraudulent sweepstakes phone calls and investments, and grandparent scams (“Scamnation! Far more insidious are deceptions by neighbors, friends, employees, and relatives—the very people entrusted to care for and protect seniors.
Greenwood says fraud committed by strangers such as unlicensed home contractors and phone sweepstakes scammers is bigger than ever.
So are crimes involving people in close contact with seniors.
She decided she didn’t want to deal with her finances any longer and let the two take control.
A seminal national study by the Met Life Mature Market Institute found that the cost of such abuses is at least .9 billion a year.
Professional caregivers pose particular risks because of their closeness to the victims and, perhaps, their generally low wages.
We unearthed numerous cases in which health aides, either in the home or in an institution, had taken items, cash, or Social Security checks from their elderly charges, or worse.
They were convicted of grand theft and financial elder abuse, both felonies, and two counts of misdemeanor elder abuse.
Last summer, a California appeals court stayed one of Schoenbachler’s misdemeanor charges.
Such abuse can be financially and emotionally devastating.