Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Detective’s Case Files Of Exploitation

by Joe Roubicek

While the number of violent crimes in the U.S. is decreasing, financial crimes against the elderly are increasing as a result of the aging of the population and greater concentration of wealth among older people. According to a 2005 Senior Forum Report by the White House Conference On Aging, only one in 100 cases of financial abuse is reported, and there are millions of financial abuse victims each year.

The money is certainly there for the taking: persons over 50 control at least 70% of the nation’s household net worth. 75% of victims of financial abuse are between the ages of 70 and 89. The majority are female, frail and mentally impaired.

With each new case I realized that the key is not deception of the elderly, but exploitation of common disabilities this population suffers. Exploiters were being recognized as crafty scammers when they were simply exploiting the victim’s disabilities.

I had no idea at the time that my law enforcement career was about to focus on a billion dollar crime that would devastate so many.

Greta was 95-years-old and her health was pretty good for a "nearcentenarian.”

She had just set the pen down after signing a very important document for her new caretaker, Veleta Cossie, and it went as follows:

To Whom It May Concern
This is to certify that I, Greta H. Crowley, relinquish all my shares and interest in all the various companies:
(1) Texas Utilities Company
(2) General Electric Company
(3) General Motors Company
(4) CommonWealth Edison Company
(5) G.M. Hughes Electric Company
To Veleta Cossie for her kindness shown to me.
Sincerely Yours,
Greta Crowley

The media took notice when Cossie went before a magistrate judge the following morning and when a local news reporter interviewed me, I warned that people cannot depend on the government for protectionfrom this crime.

The problems that contributed to Greta Crowley’s continued victimization were caused by loose government regulations and just plain negligence. The victim did not have the ability to protect or care for herself, so the government stepped in to protect her, but placed her under the care of a violent thief. They put the proverbial “fox in the henhouse.”

Although the cases presented from my files are dated, there is no reason to believe that conditions have really changed over the years. Exploitation crimes still prevail for the same reasons and a better understanding of the crime is needed to combat it.

I wrote this book to give the reader just that, a better understanding to prevent victimization effectively. This final chapter began with a quote from an article where the author referred to elderly abuse in general as “…the neglected stepchild of domestic violence and child abuse in the triangle of human violence.”

Exploitation of the elderly is not just “fraud” nor is it the
“neglected stepchild of domestic violence.” It is another expression of the misunderstood dark side of human behavior, where one of us takes advantage of another’s misfortune for personal gain. It will never be stopped completely, but could most certainly be reduced significantly.

The irony of all of this is that soon today’s baby-boomers will become tomorrow’s elderly and potentially tomorrow’s victims. We’re all in the same boat, no matter what our ages.

So it would be fitting to end this book with a quote taken from the 16th century poet, John Donne.

…I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Donne is saying that whatever affects one of us affects us all. The way that we deal with elderly crimes today reflects on the type of people that we are now and will have a direct bearing on our own personal safety tomorrow.

This is but a very small excerpt of this excellent book , it has been highly recommended by readers of E.A. and I suggest you read it, you can get it here =>>

You can also contact this author through his “Storefront Page” at

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