Financial Elder Abuse

Woman Allegedly Stole $1 Million from Elderly

Earlier this week, the Seattle Times reported another story about elder financial abuse. Brenda Nichols was charged in King County for allegedly stealing more than $1 million from an elderly Seattle woman. Nichols was charged along with two co-defendants.

She was under community supervision by the state Department of Corrections for a grand-theft conviction in California. She is also wanted in New York for an outstanding warrant for 2nd degree burglary.

Unfortunately, this is just another story of many more to come. Abuse against the elderly, by duping seniors out of their money is an ever increasing problem that we need to tackle.


Settlement Finally Reached for Estate of Prominent Elder, Brooke Astor

The story of Brooke Astor is perhaps one of the more amazing stories of financial elder abuse. Brooke Astor.jpgMs. Astor, a prominent figures in the New York social scene, was known for her wealth, style and philanthropy. Initially revealed in 2006, Brooke Astor’s only child, Anthony (“Tony”) Marshall was indicted on criminal charges that included grand larceny, possession of stolen property, forgery and conspiracy.

Convicted in 2009 on charges such as grand larceny and falsifying business reports, Marshall had abused his power of attorney to his mother’s estate by selling it and forging her signature in the third codicil of his will with Astor’s former lawyer, Francis X. Morrissey. Their amendment would have left the entire estate to Marshall. This directly contradicted Ms. Astor’s previously articulated intent and desire to give a large portion of her estate to charity.

Last Wednesday, a settlement was finally reached that would cut Tony Marshall’s share to $14.5 million. $12.3 million will be paid out of the estate to the Manhattan D.A.’s office for the prosecution of Mr. Marshall.

Of the proceeds, some $20 million will go to the Metropoliation Museum of Art. $15 million will go to the New York Public Library. A $30 million fund will also be established to improve education in New York.

National Phone Lines Established for General Finance, Medical & Financial Abuse Advice

As of Nov. 10th, a  new national hotline for seniors and adult children of the elderly is available to deal with one of America’s biggest fraud problems: The estimated 1 out of every 5 citizens over the age of 65 who are victimized by a financial swindle/fraud. Of particular concern are seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who can perform most daily functions, but have trouble or become confused when it comes to managing their finances.! Elder phone line.jpg

In collaboration with the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), the Financial Planning Association (FPA), and Baylor College of Medicine, the Investor Protection Trust (IPT) and Investor Protection Institute (IPI) are making available three separate call-in lines – covering general finance, medical, and financial abuse questions — from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 10, 2011. (See call-in details below.) Kiplinger’s Personal Finance is also a partner in the November 10th hotline project.

The toll-free hotlines will address questions and offer free advice in the following key areas:

General Finance Questions 888-227-1776. Callers are encouraged to dial into this number to speak with an expert from the Financial Planning Association about their family financial security. Callers will get answers to general financial questions, help identifying financial professionals that put your interests first and learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones from financial fraud. FPA professionals can also help initiate a conversation about money with adult children of older parents in order to help prevent elder investment fraud and financial exploitation.

Medical Questions 888-303-0430. Callers to this number can get advice from health care professionals about medical issues such as mild cognitive impairment that can impact an older person’s ability to make wise and safe financial decisions and can increase their vulnerability to elder financial abuse and exploitation. The health care professionals can help callers recognize the warning signs of vulnerability to financial abuse in themselves or loved ones and suggest referral routes for further medical screening.

Financial Abuse Questions 888-303-3297. Callers to this number will speak with an adult protective services (APS) professional about elder financial abuse and strategies for keeping themselves or older loved ones independent. Callers can get information on how to recognize the most common ways that older adults are financially exploited and methods for preventing elder financial abuse. APS professionals will also help callers take the proper steps if they suspect that a loved one is currently being financially abused or exploited.

About Kevin

Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.