Elder abuse: A hidden but timely topic

Tuesday June 9th 2015
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LORDS VALLEY – Elder abuse can take many forms. Taking advantage of senior citizens, an issue in society in general, is no stranger in Pike County, Pennsylvania. Tackling the challenges is the Pike County Elder Task Force, a coalition of local senior citizen services, law enforcement, local legislators and other concerned parties.

Information was presented on June 2nd at the second annual Elder Justice Day, hosted by the Task Force at St. Vincent de Paul Parish Hall on Route 739. Several dozen seniors attended.

Speakers included PA Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne; Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin; Katrina Boyer, the PA Department of Banking and Securities outreach liaison; Ronald Costen, Ph.D., Esq., the legal director for the Institute on Protective Services at Temple University and Mary Bach, chairwoman of the AARP Pennsylvania Consumer Issues Task Force. Topics included: Scams, bank fraud, ID theft, reverse mortgages, elder abuse, investigating and prosecuting crimes against the elderly.

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Mount Penn woman admits to stealing $41,000 from elderly man

Tuesday June 9th 2015
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A Mount Penn woman admitted in Berks County Court Wednesday that she stole more than $41,000 from an 83-year-old man by convincing him she was his caretaker in 2009.

Jolyn J. Aulenbach, 52, of the first block of Pennwynn Terrace, pleaded guilty before President Judge Paul M. Yatron to theft by deception and conspiracy for the elder abuse scam.Yatron sentenced Aulenbach to nine months to two years in state prison followed by seven years of probation, as part of a negotiated agreement. Aulenbach was also ordered to pay more than $41,000 in restitution.

Her husband, Bradley Fisher, 50, who was her boyfriend at the time, is also charged in the matter. His case was rescheduled for later in June.Authorities said Aulenbach convinced the victim, who had diminished mental capacities, to issue 47 checks totaling about $22,000 to her between June and December 2009. Read more »

$315K bilked from elderly couple Tamaqua restaurateur charged

Monday June 1st 2015
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Alfonso “Alfie” Picone, 44, of 181 Owl Creek Road, Tamaqua, part owner and manager of La Dolce Casa/DiMaggio’s Restaurant in Tamaqua, was arrested Thursday and arraigned on charges related to bilking an elderly couple out of more than $315,000.

Rush Township police charged Picone with felony counts of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities with intent to promote, knowledge that property is proceeds of an illegal act, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, theft by deception/false impression and theft by deception/prevention of acquisition of information.

Last December, township police were contacted by Brian Campbell of the Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services. Campbell was investigating the possible exploitation of an elderly Lake Hauto couple.

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Police: Couple stole from mom, 88, in nursing home

Friday May 22nd 2015
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MAHONING TWP. — A son and his wife allegedly stole more than $13,000 from his 88-year-old mother who lives in a nursing home, resulting in her account drained and her owing money for her care.

Mahoning Township Police Chief Chad Thomas charged Steven J. Wesolowski, 58, and Christine S. Wesolowski, 63, of 123 Pepper Hills, each with forgery, access device misuse, theft and receiving stolen property.

Lacy Temple, of the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, provided an initial report to police on Feb. 24, 2014, that Sara Wesolowski, of Emmanuel Nursing Center, had $13,138 stolen from her. After the aging office completed its report, Thomas was notified about July 28. Read more »

25-year-old convicted in Jamaican lottery scam

Friday May 22nd 2015
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A 25-year-old man was convicted Thursday for his role in a Jamaican lottery scam that authorities say cost victims around the country millions of dollars.

 Sanjay Williams, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering and faces up to 40 years in prison.
Investigators described Williams primarily as a “lead broker” who bought and sold “sucker lists” of potential victims. He was the only one of 32 defendants to opt for trial; about a dozen defendants are awaiting extradition from Jamaica.

Prosecutors said Williams, who was arrested in North Carolina, was the first person from Jamaica convicted of selling the lead lists used in the scam.

“I hope it makes a difference,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter said. “I hope it sends a message to the people who continue doing this crime.” Read more »

Keeping an eye on the Bank of Mum

Wednesday May 20th 2015
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Australians are living longer and living richer than at any time in our history. The Intergenerational Report predicts that 40,000 people will celebrate their 100th birthday in 2055. Some older women will enjoy their wealth – travelling the world, with their luggage broadcasting that they are ‘spending their children’s inheritance’. Others will live in an aged care facility while their children keep their eyes peeled on the ‘Bank of Mum’.

State Trustees Victoria report ‘For Love or Money: intergenerational management of older Victorians’ assets’ shows that women over the age of 80 are most at risk of financial elder abuse. This research found that adult sons are the most common perpetrators.

Financial elder abuse involves taking or misusing an older person’s money, property or assets. Studies confirm that financial abuse is the fastest-growing type of abuse of older women. So much so that Senior Rights Victoria suggested the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Family Violence should include elder abuse. Read more »

Stepping up protection for the elderly

Wednesday May 20th 2015
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Everyone knows, right, that the elderly are among the most vulnerable members of our society. It’s the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States — what with about 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day — not that 65 is the threshold for being elderly.

The point is that this demographic controls a lot of money, which makes it a prime target for advisers seeking to build their business. You’ve probably heard the numbers: Baby boomers hold around $15 trillion in assets and the generational wealth transfer is estimated at more than $30 trillion.

Between 2031 and 2045, 10% of total wealth in the U.S. is expected to change hands every five years, according to Accenture.

But 2031 is still a long way off. The immediate problem is advisers taking advantage of folks who may not be as sharp as they once were. Whether it’s selling inappropriate products or outright stealing, there appears to be no shortage of financial advice practitioners who see no harm in doing just that. Read more »

Teresa Osborne confirmed as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging

Wednesday May 20th 2015
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Teresa Osborne confirmed as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging

HARRISBURG — Teresa Osborne is the new secretary of the Department of Aging.

Osborne was confirmed Wednesday by a unanimous vote by the Senate.

A native of Scranton, Osborne served as executive director of the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging. She previously served as chancellor and chief operating officer of the Diocese of Scranton, and prior to that, was executive director of the Lackawanna County Department of Human Services and the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging.

Osborne also served on the Mayor’s Task Force on Law Enforcement & Mental Health in Scranton.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to spearhead Governor (Tom) Wolf’s initiatives as they relate to our older Pennsylvanians,” Osborne said in a news release announcing her appointment. “Serving in this position of public trust will allow me to continue to provide opportunities to help older adults live with independence and dignity in their own homes and communities, and to be a proactive and visible advocate for older citizens by working with other state agencies, the Aging Network and the General Assembly.” Read more »

Hobbled Korean War vet, wife, abducted by three women

Monday April 27th 2015
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An 86-year-old Korean War veteran and his 55-year-old wife told police they were kidnapped Thursday morning by three women who forced them to open a bank account and rent two cars for them.

Shaken and unharmed but indignant, the couple on Saturday recounted the bizarre tale of their six-hour abduction ordeal. Police said five people, including one of the alleged kidnappers, have been arrested.

George Saunders and his wife, Priscilla Jones, of Southwest Philadelphia, said they were walking – with the aid of canes – to a convenience store for groceries about 11 a.m. Thursday on the 3000 block of Pennsgrove Street in West Philadelphia. Three women pulled up alongside them in a gray Chrysler Town & Country minivan and asked if they needed a ride.

The couple said they told the women no, but were pushed into the vehicle. In the backseat was a 5-month-old boy – and to Jones’ dismay, the women were smoking marijuana, she said.

“That was a hell of an experience. I never had anyone do me like that,” Jones said. “I couldn’t say nothing – all I could do was pray. I said, ‘Please God, get me out of this.”

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Monday April 27th 2015
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The Institute on Protective Services is now on Twitter @InstituteOnPS and Facebook Institute on Protective Services.  Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest in the field of #ElderJustice.

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