Financial Exploitation of the Elderly
The frail elderly are particularly susceptible to financial abuse and exploitation. That is why Illinois law contains special protections to protect the elderly. The Illinois Criminal Code defines exploitation as:
Financial exploitation: when a person stands in a position of trust or confidence with the elderly person or a person with a disability and he or she knowingly and by deception or intimidation obtains control over the property of an elderly person or a person with a disability or illegally uses the assets or resources of an elderly person or a person with a disability. The illegal use of the assets or resources of an elderly person or a person with a disability includes, but is not limited to, the misappropriation of those assets or resources by undue influence, breach of a fiduciary relationship, fraud, deception, extortion, or use of the assets or resources contrary to law. There are criminal penalties for conviction of elder financial abuse. 720 ILCS 5/16-1.3(a)
As a further protection, the Illinois Probate Code provides "a person convicted of financial exploitation, abuse, or neglect of an elderly person or a person with a disability shall not receive any property, benefit, or other interest by reason of the death of that elderly person or person with a disability. 755 ILCS 5/2-6.2
Take steps to help friends, neighbors and relatives
At Sheryl E. Fuhr & Associates, our attorneys vigorously pursue cases of financial elder abuse. If you know of an elderly person who may be the victim of fraud or financial exploitation, contact a knowledgeable lawyer for advice and counsel.
Examples of financial abuse
Financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly can take many forms. Our attorneys have helped people who have experienced:
- Theft of assets such as Social Security checks, pension payments, checking or savings account, credit card or ATM
- Withholding portions of money obtained by cashing checks for the senior
- Charging unreasonable rent or excessive fees for transportation or personal services
- Coercing an elderly person into signing over their assets, such as investments and real estate through intimidation or threats
- Borrowing money in the elderly person's name and other kinds of fiduciary misconduct such or selling their assets without authorization
- Operating schemes such as the pigeon drop and the fake accident
Perpetrators can be trusted advisors and caregivers
These instances of elder abuse have been perpetrated by caregivers, relatives, neighbors, bankers, brokers, and financial advisors. If you are aware of financial abuse of a senior, contact a lawyer right away. Take steps to help an elderly relative, neighbor, or friend.