Articles Tagged with senior fraud

Recently the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report about the extent of elder abuse by guardians and measures that exist to protect older adults. This has become an issue of utmost importance as the number of older adults, over the age of 65, are expected to nearly double to 88 million by 2050 (GAO Report 2016). A “guardian” is a legal relationship created by a state court by granting one person the authority and responsibility to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual, like an older adult. The appointed guardian could be a family member, a professional guardian, or a public guardian. According to the GAO report the most common type of elder abuse inflicted by guardians appear to be financial exploitation. This GAO report attempted to identify red flags of abuse, study reported complaint data about guardianship abuse in 6 states- California, Minnesota, Florida, Ohio, Texas and Washington- and evaluate measures that are in place to help protect older adults.

The federal government does not regulate or directly support guardianship but they may provide indirect support through federal agencies, by sharing information and providing funding for state and local courts who oversee the guardianship process. There are limitations on the data available to study cases of elder abuse because states do not have adequate data on number of guardians serving seniors and not all cases of elder abuse are reported.  A close look at reported elder abuse cases since 2010, identified using public-record searches reveal instances of misappropriation of funds, falsified payments, mistreatment of the elderly, diversion of payments, overcharging accounts, excessive spending and inflated personal expenses, and neglect.

FINRA ’s Role in Fighting Elder Financial Exploitation

The Securities Fraud attorneys at Malecki Law today visited the Hudson Guild Senior Center to educate members of their Naturally Occuring Retirement Community (NORC) about Elder Financial Exploitation. Adam Nicolazzo and Robert Van de Veire addressed a group of 15-20 senior members of that community about investment fraud, common red flag signs of fraud, and how to protect their retirement income and nest eggs.

According to FINRA, the elderly lose approximately $ 2.9 billion every year due to fraud. The Malecki Law attorneys try to create awareness within communities of elders about dangers of elder financial exploitation and empower them to take legal recourse if they are victimized. The seniors get educated about regulatory authorities like FINRA and SEC, and tools like BrokerCheck available to them. The Malecki Law team used real life examples of Ponzi and affinity schemers, who are known to have preyed on the elderly, to help senior members understand the realities of financial fraud and that it comes in many forms. They also offer free consultation and case evaluation in these sessions.

Malecki Law continues to work towards positive changes in elder law within the securities industry and Jenice Malecki recently participated in a panel on Dangers of Diminished Capacity at the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association’s (PIABA) annual conference.

As the U.S. baby boomers look toward retirement, a larger percentage of the population will become senior-aged individuals who will have a substantial amount of savings that may be used to fund investments.  It is more important than ever to keep in mind that everyone needs to take as much care over their retirement nest egg now as they did when they were diligently saving.  The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has issued a new release to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and remind senior-aged investors to be wary of financial fraud.

In the news release, the NJ Bureau noted that one in five Americans over the age of 65 are victims of financial fraud, making it one of the fastest growing forms of elder abuse.  However, the news release noted that anyone over than 55, whether working or retired, may be viewed as a potential target for financial fraud.

The NJ Bureau of Securities listed several types of financial fraud to be careful of, including: