Elderly Shippenville Woman Victim of Scam; Florida Man Accused of Promising her $1,000,000 Jailed

Tuesday July 15th 2014

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A Florida man is in Clarion County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing as a result of a scam in which he allegedly promised an elderly Shippenville woman a check for a million dollars after she sent him a large sum of money.

Clarion Borough Police, along with PSP Clarion, and the Clarion Area Agency of Aging investigated an incident in which an elderly woman sent a large amount of cash to an address listed in Davie, Florida, with the promise of getting a large check worth a million dollars or more.

According to a criminal complaint, on June 26, 2014, Officer William Peck, of Clarion Borough Police, was referred a missing person from PSP Clarion. A 79-year-old Shippenville woman was reported missing by her husband.

Her husband stated that at approximately 10:30 a.m. on June 26, his wife left the residence to meet some unknown person who had been calling her for a long period of time. He told Officer Peck that the unknown person promised her “gifts.”  He also said that he called S&T Bank and was told his wife withdrew $5,000.00 from their checking account.  He was was concerned because it had been hours, and his wife had not returned.

Peck located the elderly woman in the parking lot of Anderson Therapy on South 5th Street; she was talking on her cell phone.

When Peck made contact with her, he discovered that she was on the phone with the unknown person, and the phone number she was communicating with was “withheld.”

She ended the phone call and said she was “scammed” and was trying to get her money back. She sent the money Western Union at the Clarion K-Mart, and the person said that he would be at her house tonight to give her a check for over a million dollars. She had a receipt for Western Union wire transfer in the amount of $2,000.00. Read more »

Funeral director accused of stealing $300K from elderly neighbor

Thursday June 19th 2014

A funeral director in North Philadelphia is under arrest, charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly woman.

The 89-year-old victim’s niece and nephew contacted the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging a year ago.  Police say after a year-long investigation, funeral director Antoine Turay turned himself in today Wednesday.  Detectives from the Special Victims Unit worked with forensic accountants to comb through all of the victim’s accounts he allegedly stole from.

Between 2009 and 2013 police say Turay stole more than $300,000 from an elderly neighbor who suffered memory loss after a fall.  Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Anthony McFadden says, “He took advantage of it, where he was actually taking his own bank accounts and transferring monies back and forth, paying off his credit cards.” Read more »

Seminar focuses on financial scams against elderly

Tuesday June 17th 2014

(Philadelphia) American seniors have lost an estimated $2.9 billion in financial scams in the last decade, and financial institutions need to do more to protect them, experts suggested at a meeting Monday.

Jason Karlawish, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies seniors and memory loss, said this is a public health problem and called for a “reboot” of the financial services industry.

“Who are these people selling stuff to seniors as their job?” he asked at a panel on financial abuse of the elderly, sponsored by the United Way in Center City. Though he hates the terms, he said, such people should become “senior certified” or “senior friendly.”

He also said seniors fall victim to scams from family and strangers not only for cultural and generational reasons – but also medical ones. “There are changes at the neural level that are tied to judgment,” he said. “Older adults are more likely to have trouble making risk-reward judgments.”

Research, he said, has shown that seniors “are much more oriented toward positive emotional experiences and will steer away from negative emotional experiences.” Hence, in some cases where seniors are experiencing cognitive decline, “when someone comes along and is very pleasant to you, you become more vulnerable.”

Markita Morris-Louis, vice president of community affairs and general counsel at Clarifi, who moderated the panel, suggested seniors should get something like an “annual financial wellness checkup,” in which someone trusted and certified could review their bank history and who has access to their account.

Joe Snyder, director of older adult services for the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, said financial abuse by family members is much more common than by strangers, but “both can be deadly.”
Read more »

Providers of elder abuse shelters to meet in Ohio

Wednesday June 11th 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) — Pioneers in providing shelter for elder abuse victims are combining forces to expand efforts to give seniors an emergency refuge.

Eight such shelters have formed an alliance and will meet this week in suburban Cincinnati to share best practices and hear from experts on elder abuse, increasingly recognized as a problem for the aging U.S. population. It’s estimated that at least 2 million older Americans are abused, exploited or neglected every year, with many more cases likely going undetected.

The model of giving older victims a safe place to get emergency health, counseling and legal help while they stay among peers in a senior community has worked well, said Joy Solomon, who helps lead the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention that opened in 2005 at New York City’s Hebrew Home.

“People are coming into an already established community of older adults with professional care and where their dignity is primary,” Solomon said. “Victims can begin to heal.” Read more »

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Wednesday June 4th 2014
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

NCEA joins ACL in inviting you to take a stand against elder abuse and protect seniors. Visit the WEAAD microsite to find resources, events, and ideas to take action!

Special Elder Abuse Unit Protects Older Pennsylvanians

Friday May 23rd 2014

Created in August 2006, the PA Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Unit investigates and prosecutes those who cheat, deceive or abuse older Pennsylvanians.

The unit is comprised of prosecutors, agents and support staff.

A special section within the unit educates the public about senior fraud and teaches them how to avoid being victimized.

Elder abuse complaints are received from the toll free elder abuse hotline at (866) 623-2137. Well-trained staff help expedite assistance to senior citizens by providing information when the issue is not within the jurisdiction of the Office of Attorney General or by moving the referrals to the proper section within the office when appropriate, according to the PA Attorney General’s office. Read more »

Hornbrook Memorial Award given to The Institute on Protective Services

Tuesday May 20th 2014
Hornbrook Memorial Award given to The Institute on Protective Services

The Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance (SEAPA) hosted its third annual Hornbrook Memorial Awards luncheon at The Greystone Restaurant on May 14.  The luncheon was held in conjunction with the dedication of a monument to the victims of elder abuse. (read more about the monument here)

The awards are named in honor of John J. Hornbrook, Pottsville, who donated a third of his estate in perpetual charitable trust to SEAPA. The donation also made the purchase of the memorial possible.

The annual awards are given to an individual and a group who have helped the agency or the elder community.

“John embodied the ideals and principles that SEAPA stands for and that is to embrace and empower our seniors to continue to be respected, contributing members to society,” Mika, a co-founder, said.

This year the awards were given to representatives from the state Department of Aging Institute of Protective Services at Temple University, which helped establish SEAPA 10 years ago.

Ronald W. Costen, a professor and director of the institute at Temple University, received the individual award, while Linda Mill, investigations manager, and Allison Benkert, financial crimes investigator, received the group awards.  Chris Dubble, Project Coordinator, and Lori Knockstead, Project Manager, were not able to attend the luncheon but were also awarded the group award and will be honored at a SEAPA meeting in June.

Wausau woman gets prison in $250,000 elderly-fraud scheme

Monday May 19th 2014

WAUSAU (WI) — A Wausau woman convicted of defrauding an elderly woman of more than $250,000 and using some of the money to bail friends out of jail will spend eight years in prison.

Laurie A. Goetsch, 46, was found guilty in February in Marathon County Circuit Court of five felony theft charges in connection with the case. Investigators said Goetsch diverted the funds from the investment account of a 96-year-old woman for whom she was paid $3,600 a month to provide care, according to the criminal complaint.

Marathon County Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson on Tuesday sentenced Goetsch to a total of 20 years in the Wisconsin State Prison System. After eight years of initial confinement, Goetsch will spend 12 years on extended supervision and will be required to perform 40 hours of community service each year, according to court records. Read more »

Elderly American ‘money mule’ held at airport

Monday May 19th 2014

(JAMAICA) A Hanover man, who allegedly recruited a 70-year-old American woman to operate as a ‘money mule’, is among three persons who were nabbed in recent anti-lottery scam operations in western Jamaica.

The elderly woman, who is believed to have been a former victim who was apparently convinced by the ‘scammer’ to work as a ‘money mule’ for him, was intercepted at the Sangster’s International Airport, in Montego Bay, with US$10,000.

A 20-year-old man who turned up at the airport under the guise that the elderly woman was his girlfriend, was intercepted by personnel from the Anti-Lottery Task Force and taken to his home, where a search was conducted.

“At his (the 20-year-old) home, we discovered items relating to identity fraud as well as other material of probative value,” said Corporal Kevin Watson, the media and communication liaison officer with the Anti-Lottery Scam Task Force. “The information we have found would suggest that he has been involved in the lottery scam for at least two years.” Read more »

Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance commemorates 10 years

Thursday May 15th 2014
Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance commemorates 10 years

“For no other reason than we will all be old.”

Those are the words engraved on the monument dedicated Wednesday to serve as both a memorial to victims of elder abuse and a call to action for those that see it. The Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance purchased the memorial to commemorate its 10th anniversary.

“Elder abuse is everyone’s problem, if for no other reason than we will all be old one day ourselves,” Georgene Fedoriska, SEAPA co-chairwoman and executive administrator for the county office of senior services, said. “The seeds we sow today will make a better future for our seniors.”

The nonprofit organization has pursued the same objectives over the last 10 years: promote awareness of elder abuse in Schuylkill County; provide education and training to various groups on how to identify, prevent and report elder abuse; and prosecute perpetrators of crimes against the elderly.

“It was an idea that came about when a local attorney, Eric Mika, noticed that seniors were being exploited financially,” Fedoriska said.  She said Mika contacted then-Commissioner Mantura M. Gallagher, who explored the idea of such an organization with then-director of the county office of senior services Marie Beauchamp.

It was then that the steering committee known as the Schuylkill County Elder Abuse Task Force was established. When the organization was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2007, the name changed to SEAPA. It now consists of 30 members that includes representatives from the banking industry, clergy, long-term care, law enforcement, funeral directors, health care and education.

“We wanted to embrace and empower seniors to stand up for themselves and if they couldn’t stand up for themselves, that there would be entities that would help them stand up,” Fedoriska said. “For the last 10 years, we hope that showed in the programs we provided,”

State Department of Aging Secretary Brian Duke was there Wednesday to congratulate the organization on 10 years.

“It is good to be here with so many today that share this mission of enhancing the quality of life for older Pennsylvanians,” Duke said. Read more »

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