Saturday, February 13, 2010

Independent Elder Task Abuse Force Throws Monkey Wrench Into Elder Abuse Racket

GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. -- Genesee County’s elder abuse task force is credited with saving countless seniors who are abused and neglected every year.

WNEM TV5’s Julie Banovic was given exclusive access to the team -- as it cracked another case in Genesee County.

In 2006, Dr. Dorothy Mulkey, of Flushing, was diagnosed with dementia.
She told WNEM TV5 she trusted Andrea Neil, her former office manager, to be her caretaker.

Not having any children of her own with her husband having recently died, Mulkey depended on Andrea and her husband Steven just like they were family.

"Who would assume that someone with that many years of trust and devotion would turn like that on you,” said Diane Nims, Executive Director of the elder abuse task force.
The doctor paid the Niels to run errands, pick up groceries and even get prescriptions filled. But what Mulkey didn’t know was that the couple was over medicating her.

Authorities said she was drugged so badly she didn’t know her own name.
"It took 12 days to detox this doctor so we could get her back to where she had some recognition and some memory of who she was,” said Genesee County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell.
WNEM TV5 reported that Mulkey was only allowed out of her drugged state on days when she was asked to sign checks.

Authorities said Andrea and Steven tricked her into signing over $3 million.

"I was devastated really,” Mulkey said. "They had me so doped up that I did whatever she suggested. I think she would have probably murdered me in the end.” The Niels were not shy about spending their newly found $3 million fortune neither.

Pickell said the scheme nearly worked, since those close to Mulkey were not suspicious of any illegal activity.

The Neils were considered family, and more importantly, there were no signs of physical abuse seen in traditional elder abuse cases. "If this (elder abuse task) unit didn’t exist, this case would have fallen right through the crack,” Pickell said.

The division, dedicated solely to crimes against the elderly, received a tip from Mulkey’s financial institution warning them she appeared “zombie-like” during a recent visit.
An intake worker then followed up with a home visit. An interview with the drugged doctor quickly aroused suspicion and Mulkey was immediately admitted to the hospital. It took almost two weeks to flush the heavy medications out of her system.

“I feel great now,” Mulkey said. “I think most of that dope is washed out me, whatever she was giving me.”

Andrea was arrested in December and charged with elder abuse and embezzlement. It took another month to gather enough evidence to also charge her husband, Steven. The couple is now in jail awaiting a trial.

So far the elder abuse task force has helped save over 2,000 lives in Genesee County.
"I lived through it," Mulkey said. "Thank God I didn’t die."

For assistance with the care of an elder, information about services or to report a concern, call 810-762-4022 .

I am so happy to have some positive news to report ! Independently created Elder Abuse Task Forces is the only thing that works, when citizens finally say enough and take matters into their own hand!

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