Friday, January 12, 2007

1 in 5 Elders Victim of Exploitation 4% to 15% ever Reported

By Tracy BretonJournal Staff Writer
A trust betrayed: How two women in their 90's were fleeced by a helper
Elisabeth Shanks, 95, of Riverdale, N.Y., had started to forget things when she met Patricia Murtaugh. Shanks initially enjoyed Murtaugh's help

Experts estimate that one in five elderly Americans are victims of financial exploitation. Some studies put the figure at closer to 50 percent. However, only 4 percent to 15 percent of such cases are ever reported to authorities.

Richard C.W. Hall, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Florida, says the most common victims of financial exploitation are females older than 75. Most are unmarried, widowed or divorced and suffer from cognitive impairment.

Elisabeth Shanks’ new lawyer has filed a civil suit against Patricia Murtaugh seeking $125,000 in damages for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, and an additional $750,000 in punitive damages. Murtaugh not only stole Shanks’ money, the lawsuit says, but failed to pay her elderly victim’s bills on time, resulting in Shanks’ supplemental health insurance being canceled and her past-due debts being sent to a collection agency

Editor’s Note: Tracy Breton, a recipient of a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship for 2006-2007, is writing an intermittent series of stories about elder abuse and exploitation

read the whole article on this case here....

No comments: