If you are an adult in the United States today, chances are good you’ve received at least one phone call from a scam artist.
Usually, we know enough to distinguish fraud, but not always. What if you were less confident in your technological abilities? What if you were vulnerable because you were going through intense mourning after the death of your spouse?
I’m talking about senior citizens, and how often they are the targets of scam artists.
The Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, along with insurance giant MetLife, conducted a study that concluded that senior citizens lost $2.9 billion annually from financial fraud.
State and federal prosecutors are getting harder on scammers preying on senior citizens, for this reason, often recommending severe penalties.
Have you been wrongfully arrested and suspected of committing financial fraud against senior citizens?
The same crackdown on real fraudsters results in many wrongful arrests and violations of constitutional rights.
You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the federal court system. We are dedicated to defending your rights and working to get your case dismissed.
Fraud Against Senior Citizens
It is heartbreaking, however, many times fraud against a senior citizen is perpetrated by a family member or someone close to that person.
Here are the most common types of fraud committed by family members:
- Theft – while this isn’t fraud, it’s actually the most common. Whether money or valuables, older adults are often vulnerable to theft.
- Social Security Fraud – signing or cashing a pension check or social security belonging to an elderly relative without permission is fraud.
- “Borrowing” ATM cards or credit cards – sometimes close family members or friends need to help senior citizens with purchases, but it can become misuse when funds get stolen.
- Coercion – sometimes, elder abuse comes in the form of forcing someone to hand over property or money, and seniors feel they have no choice because of their vulnerable position.
- Withholding Medical Care – Family members in charge of helping elders get medical care can commit fraud by withholding care to conserve funds.
- Power of Attorney – There are often legitimate reasons for adult children of senior citizens to take over power of attorney for their parent, but this can also be a subtle form of fraud if that power is abused.
Financial Crimes Against Elderly
Senior citizens are vulnerable for several reasons.
As I mentioned, many of seniors are unfamiliar with technology and vulnerable because they live alone. They are also at risk because they make good targets. They often have good credit or a large amount of savings.
Sometimes, senior citizens won’t report a scam because they are embarrassed and don’t want to admit it to their children, or because they genuinely didn’t realize it was a scam.
Even when senior citizens do report fraud, they may not be able to make as detailed a report to police. This makes the proliferation of scams we see today the sad reality.
Here are some of the most common scams against senior citizens:
Healthcare and Life Insurance Scams
These scammers prey on the fears of the elderly by offering insurance policies to cover end-of-life expenses. This is even though their current insurance policies already cover these expenses.
Prizes And Sweepstakes Scams
This type of fraud informs the person they have won an award or sweepstakes of some kind. However, must send money for shipping or taxes to claim it.
Scammers try to take advantage of retirees who have a nest egg they are looking to invest. They offer fake shares, property, or jewelry and take off with the money.
These scams are a ruse to get credit information for goods or services, like building work, a magazine subscription, or a new product. The victim is then charged several times or more than they should be charged.
Scammers call someone whose spouse has recently died, claiming they owed thousands of dollars in debt before they died.
Defending You Against Fraud Allegations
If you have been charged with fraud against older adults, know that the prosecution is not going to give you a break.
Maybe you had no intention to commit a crime. You made false statements in good faith rather than fraudulent statements.
Call my office today, and we will get to work on your case. We will make sure investigators respect your rights, we will challenge their evidence and their testimony, and we will do everything we can to put forward our narrative.
Michigan Federal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing a federal investigation, you need an experienced federal defense attorney as soon as possible. It’s never too late! Call my office today and let me help you.