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Financial Abuse of Senior Citizens

By The Law Office of WT Johnson on October 12, 2012

Cases of elderly financial abuse are on the rise here in Texas. Last year, Texas Adult Protective Services reported 1,700 confirmed cases of financial abuse; 258 of them were from North Texas. In June of this year, 154 cases of elder financial abuse in North Texas were filed, up from 126 the year before. According to Texas Adult Protective Services, the abuse and exploitation of the elderly is likely as common as child abuse.

A MetLife Mature Market Institute study shows that every year, senior citizens lose approximately $2.6 billion dollars as victims of financial exploitation. Helen Hulett of Dallas was one of these victims. Helen was blind and in her 80s, and was living at an apartment complex when she befriended the complex’s manager. At the time, Helen’s daughter Sandy was living in Pennsylvania. Helen eventually hired the manager to help her with bookkeeping.

Over a period of three years, that bookkeeper managed to steal $370,000 from Helen Hulett.

Sandy was alerted to the abuse by Helen’s financial advisor, who reported suspicious activity on the part of the acting bookkeeper. It was then that Sandy saw the transfers: numerous bank transfers worth thousands of dollars going toward the bookkeeper’s personal expenses… both Hulett women were shocked and angered by the situation.

Thankfully in October 2008, the bookkeeper was found guilty by a jury and the Hulett family received justice. Just hours after Helen heard the verdict, she passed away.

While Helen Hulett’s abuse case was discovered and fought, most instances of financial wrongdoing go unreported or undetected. Many elderly are hesitant to admit abuse. This hesitancy is often the result of feelings of loyalty, embarrassment, or fear.

Does your loved one live in a nursing home or receive care from a caregiver? It is all too common for care providers to illegally benefit from a senior citizen’s resources. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse outlines forms of exploitation: forging signatures, taking or using property without permission, making changes to wills and deeds through deception, and scams involving fraudulent acts.

If you or your loved one has been the victim of Texas nursing home abuse, or you suspect wrongdoing, call the Dallas elder financial abuse attorneys at W.T. Johnson today for a confidential consultation. We’re here to protect the best interests of you and your family.

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