Elderly Maine couple’s plight moves others to give

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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Some Maine Sunday Telegram readers remember Pauline Long as the lunch lady from school. Others know her husband, Cedric, as the older man who takes walks in his Camden neighborhood and greets all the dogs with treats. Many people didn’t know them at all, but felt moved by the Longs’ story to help the elderly couple, who were financially exploited by their daughter-in-law and son.  Gary and Deborah Long got $164,000 that put his parents’ home on the line.

Regardless of their reasons, neighbors from just down the street – and strangers from as far away as Scotland and Hong Kong – had raised more than $9,200 as of Friday for the Longs.

“I read the story and was horrified by it. I lost sleep about it. I put it on Facebook and there was this miraculous rush of people asking, ‘How can we help?’ ” said Loriel Van Dusen of Camden. “I thought: ‘Why am I just sitting here? I could do something.’ ”  Van Dusen created a GoFundMe site to collect donations. She has been in touch with the Longs and their attorney, Denis Culley at Legal Services for the Elderly in Augusta, to make sure donations get handled properly.  “So many people seemed really willing to help. I thought I should strike while people’s interest was high. I wanted to make it as simple for people as possible to help,” Van Dusen said. Read more »

Senior victim to valued friend

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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Eliot Karasick is a retired Wall Street executive who moved to The Landings in 2000 with a big heart for those less blessed. When he hired Amy Lynn Lee as a housekeeper, he thought he had found a valued friend, someone he treated like a family member.  By the time Karasick caught on, Lee had defrauded him out of more than a quarter of a million dollars, including a four-bedroom home in Pooler and a new Toyota Camry.

“I was disappointed,” Karasick, 88, said. “I couldn’t believe how any human being could do that to another human being.”

For Assistant District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones, Karasick represented a common denominator for a large portion of the more than 75 elder-abuse cases she carries as part of her caseload at any time as District Attorney Meg Heap’s elder-abuse prosecutor.  “Really, there’s so much back story to these cases,” Jones said She understood Karasick’s plight and moved to address it. Working with Savannah-Chatham police financial crimes detective Raymond Woodberry, Jones took an 11-count indictment to Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann, got Lee to admit her actions and recovered a large portion of Karasik’s lost assets.  In many cases, such as Karasick’s, the issue is financial fraud or similar circumstances.

Other cases of elder abuse may involve neglect, physical violence or even death. Frequently, the person committing the abuse will be a family member, many of whom are motivated simply by greed, Jones said. The whole area of elder abuse crimes is a fairly new one in the law and one that is still developing, Jones said.

“Elder abuse confounds people. We still don’t know what we are looking at,” she said.  “It’s much deeper than I expected.” Read more »

IRS scam in Lebanon County

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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The Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Unit is issuing a reminder to seniors to be wary of attempts to financially exploit them.

A woman reported her elderly mother was contacted this week by a person representing they were from the Internal Revenue Service and were calling about late payments.  When the woman did not cooperate with requests to send money, the caller threatened her with arrest and police contact. Although shaken and upset, the woman did not suffer a financial loss as a result of this contact but this incident serves as a reminder to all to be alert to scammers during the upcoming holiday season.

Phone scammers are targeting taxpayers and extorting money from them by pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service.  Scammers are able to spoof the caller ID and give the appearance the call is originating from the IRS.  The scammers will call and say that the target owes money to the IRS and must pay immediately with a debit card or wire-transfer.  If the victim refuses, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or having their business or driver’s license suspended.  Frequently the caller will then become hostile and insulting. Read more »

Police: Family members bilked elderly parents out of $697,000

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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A Pike County man and his wife will be tried for allegedly bilking her elderly parents — who were living in Lancaster County — out of nearly $700,000. District Judge Rodney Hartman ordered John and Sue Fisher to stand trial on three counts of felony theft and related charges after a preliminary hearing Friday.

Northern Lancaster Regional police allege the Fishers tricked Sue’s elderly father, Robert Hoover, into signing a document in 2009 that granted them power of transfer. The Fishers then transferred $697,000 from the Hoovers’ bank account into their own, according to police.

Robert and Dorothy Hoover had no access to that account, according to First Assistant District Attorney Megan King, lead prosecutor. Robert Hoover was told the document had been sent from his bank and required a signature, police allege. Read more »

Homer City woman accused of $182K theft from mother

Monday November 4th 2013
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A Homer City woman allegedly stole more than $182,000 from her 73-year-old mother in Indiana by liquidating her $125,000 life insurance policy and taking money from her monthly Social Security and black lung benefits checks, state police said.  Kimberly Lynn Fulton, 48, allegedly stole the money from October 2008 to last February by altering her mother’s power-of-attorney documents to exclude her siblings from involvement in their mother’s finances and to take control of her financial records, police said.

Fulton was charged on Thursday with felony counts of theft, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, plus a misdemeanor count of tampering with records.  Police allege that Fulton cashed the $125,000 life insurance policy and deposited the money into her own bank accounts. Read more »

To Combat Elder Abuse, Doormen Are Enlisted to Keep a Watchful Eye

Friday October 25th 2013
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Michael Marlow, a doorman at the Gracie Mews apartment building on the Upper East Side, does a lot more than just open doors for residents. He unscrews their jar lids, runs to the store for apple juice, listens to their complaints about spouses and children, and even reaches into his own pocket to lend a couple of dollars for cab fare.

Joy Solomon, director and managing attorney of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, held a training session for doormen from several Manhattan buildings.

Now the amiable doorman’s ever-expanding job will include one more task: looking out for abuse of elderly residents. “We see everybody coming in and out,” said Mr. Marlow, 54, who has worked at Gracie Mews for 15 years. “If something’s wrong, we would notice.”

Mr. Marlow and his co-workers at Gracie Mews, a full-service building where the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,500, are part of a new program that aims to use the existing human infrastructure of city living to keep a closer eye on the elderly.

The program, which was developed by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, offers free on-site training and assistance to doormen, concierges, porters and other building staff across New York City. Read more »

Australian woman’s death reveals horrors of elder abuse

Tuesday October 22nd 2013
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Click here to read this important story by the Associated Press as published in USA Today.

Montco conference studies elder abuse

Monday October 21st 2013
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CONSHOHOCKEN It’s a frigid January day when a neighbor calls police after seeing an 82-year-old friend outside without a coat. Officers help the elderly woman back into her home, where they find bone-thin cats amid scatterings of kitty litter, garbage, and piles of paper. No relatives can be located to come and support their kin.

What would you do?

That was one of the case studies based on real incidents presented to panelists Friday at a conference looking at ways to prevent elderly abuse.

The conference was organized by the Montgomery County Elder Access to Justice Roundtable, which meets monthly so representatives from government and community organizations can swap information and ideas. About 130 professionals who work with the county’s elderly population signed up for the daylong gathering at the county’s fire academy in Conshohocken. The conference was a first, and organizers hope to hold it again. “One of the biggest things we noticed was there was a need to get the word out to people who work with the elderly” about how to identify and respond to such abuse, said conference coordinator Betty-Ann Izenman. Read more »

Choosing Home for Someone Else: Guardian Decisions on Long-Term Services and Supports

Friday October 18th 2013
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On October 16, the AARP Public Policy Institute released a report presenting findings from an in-depth study of how professional guardians make decisions about where incapacitated adults live.

The report, entitled Choosing Home for Someone Else: Guardian Decisions on Long-Term Services and Supports (Karp, N. & Wood, E.), includes original research on where people under guardianship live, how guardians make residential decisions, and how they seek to balance independence and perceived risk, often in the face of restricted options.  The report includes recommendations bearing on effective, person-centered guardian residential decisions.

Guardians are responsible for society’s most vulnerable at-risk adults.  One of their most important decisions is where the incapacitated person will live: in a personal residence, the community or a nursing facility.  Their choices are limited by the options available particularly as budget cutbacks have impacted home and community based services. At the same time, guardians’ consent may be necessary to make long-term services and supports function as they should.

Access the full report here through the AARP Website.

Caretaker pleads no contest in Pa. dementia death

Tuesday October 15th 2013
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HUNTINGDON – The caretaker of a Huntingdon County personal care home on Thursday entered a no-contest plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the death of a 70-year-old resident who drowned nearly a year ago.

Huntingdon District Attorney George Zanic said Connie Ann Souders, 63, could be sentenced to a short jail term, noting the charge of involuntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor. “The guidelines call for a jail ,” Zanic said. But, Zanic said the important thing to law enforcement – the underlying message – is that those who are operating personal care homes should make sure they have the facility and the staff to care for their residents.

The woman who died, Sally Jean Fultz, 70, was blind and suffering from dementia while living at the Sleepy Hollow Personal Care Center in Tell Township. Fultz, who had fallen into a creek about 100 yards from the home and drowned, was found by a neighbor.The incident occurred Oct. 24, 2012.

Zanic said that Souders did nothing in an intentional manner that led to Fultz’s death, but negligence was a factor. The plea that was presented to Judge Stewart Kurtz did not specify what Souders’ sentence would be. She entered what is called an “open plea” and will appear Dec. 5 before Kurtz for sentencing.

The Huntingdon District Attorney said that the personal care home accepted Fultz as a resident after another home didn’t believe it could care for her. He said also that the home was not supposed to be accepting new residents because of violations.

This article was written by Phil Ray for the Altoona Mirror.

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