U.S. Capital

Astor Financial Elder Abuse All Too Common, Says Elder Law Attorney

May 16, 2013

Bloomfield Hills, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 15, 2013 – The prosecution of a high-profile case of elder financial abuse is the exception, not the rule.

The New York appellate court recently upheld the majority of a 2009 conviction against the son of the late philanthropist Brooke Astor. Anthony D. Marshall had been charged with financially defrauding Ms. Astor, his mother, in part by forging her name on a will.

Marshall, scheduled to go to jail for one to three years, was convicted of stealing his mother’s fortune when she was no longer physically or mentally competent. His lawyers unsuccessfully argued that Marshall, 88, was too old to go to prison.

“Most financial exploitation of the elderly is never reported or prosecuted,” commented Michigan elder law attorney Christopher Berry.
Adult protective services advocate and law enforcement officers across the U.S. agree financial exploitation and abuse of the elderly is on the rise.

There are common warning signs which may indicate that someone is a victim of financial elder abuse: there is missing property, unexplained withdrawals from a banking account, or new transfers to another, unexplained account; bills start going unpaid when someone else has been designated to pay them;
lavish gifts are being purchased or there is a new spending pattern which is unusual; an elder has a new friend, coinciding with their sudden social isolation or a new hesitancy regarding socializing without that new friend; a new friend becomes a cosigner on a bank account; there is unusual interest in the elder’s finances by a relative, neighbor or friend; and there is a sudden change in hygiene or a halt of purchases of groceries or personal grooming items in conjunction with any of the above listed signs.

None of these signs definitely indicate financial abuse, but may be considered red flags and potentially concerning, elder advocates say.
Elder financial abuse happens to individuals who may be ill or confused, which puts them at risk of being preyed upon. Many times an elderly individual may suspect something is “not quite right,” but is too embarrassed to tell anyone else or may be in denial, because the abuser offers companionship or protection, or may be threatening them either overtly or covertly. And surprisingly often, as in the Astor case, the financial abuser is a family member.

Learn more at http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/

The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry
2550 S Telegraph Rd.
Ste 255
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
Local: 248.481.4000
Toll free: 855-41-Elder (855-413-5337)