Monday, July 16, 2007

Elderly Citizens Being Robbed By Own Families

AUSTRALIA , QUEENSLAND'S property boom has sparked an increase in the number of elderly people being swindled by predatory family members.

Middle-aged children whose parents own expensive property have used power of attorney to transfer ownership then sell homes, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A spokeswoman for the Lifeline-sponsored Queensland Elder Abuse Prevention Unit said $30 million was known to be stolen this way each year.

Many other seniors were too ashamed to report family-related theft. Justice Department Adult Guardian Dianne Pendergast said 145 cases of elder abuse were under investigation in Queensland.

One woman lost her $750,000 home after granting a relative power of attorney.
Another returned from hospital to find her house had been sold.

Ms Pendergast said a growing number of "predators" wanted their parent's assets. "I'm sure property prices have played a role in the growing number of financial elder abuse cases," she said.

"The inner-city worker's cottage is suddenly worth $1 million and middle-aged children don't want to wait for their inheritance."

"Perpetrators of abuse are most frequently adult children, followed by spouses or partners and other family members."

Abridged >>

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