Sunday, January 31, 2010

Re: Protocols - Questions Must be Asked?

Irene Masiello brought to our attention that there are protocols, however there are some important questions that must be asked regarding elder protection in financial exploitation cases which is being called the crime of the 21st century which according to the 1998 National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, only 20% of elder abuse cases are reported. Other studies suggest as few as 7% of cases are reported.

Such crimes include embezzlement, false pretense, trick and device, and undue influence. Perpetrators may try to obtain the victim’s assets through the use of legal documents such as joint tenancy agreements, powers of attorney, quitclaim deeds, wills, or trusts in addition to simple theft and forgery.

*Is there any law which mandates that the protocol be used in any specific situation?

*Do they define any of the specific criteria included in recommended checklists that should trigger their use?

*Do they require any specific questions be asked under any specific circumstances?

The "I-D-E-A-L" Model For Analyzing Potential Undue Influence in Financial Cases

  • Isolation
  • Dependence upon the perpetrator
  • Emotional Manipulation or Exploitation of Vulnerability
  • Acquiescence
  • Loss

1. Isolation from pertinent information, friends, relatives, or usual advisors. Common causes that need documentation are:

a.Naturally occurring, or pre-existing history of poor or non-existent relationships. Examples include: hostile relationships with family existing before the suspected abuse, a lack of living relatives, or having few friendships.

b.Medical disorders affecting the body or the brain are common causes of isolation. Examples include: diabetes, heart disease, deafness, blindness, dementia, depression, or other psychiatric illnesses.

c.Perpetrator interference is another common cause. Examples include: blocking telephone calls, intercepting mail, blocking visitors, or "chaperoning" (i.e., the perpetrator is present whenever victim has contact with others).

d.Geographic or technological isolation is the least common cause. Victims cannot contact or have access to friends, family, relatives, or appropriate professionals. Examples include: lack of telephone or lack of transportation.

2. Dependence upon the perpetrator. Common causes that need documentation are:
a. Physical dependence: Examples include food preparation, taking victim to physicians, etc.
b. Emotional dependence: Examples include sweetheart scams, unemployed son moving back in with widowed mother, new boyfriend/girlfriend.
c. Information dependence: Examples include professionals/advisors who misuse positions of trust to manipulate their victims.

3. Emotional Manipulation - Any emotion may be manipulated, but the most common emotion to be manipulated is fear.or Exploitation of Vulnerability - The perpetrator may exploit a victim’s known or suspected vulnerability.

a.Emotional manipulation often centers on issues of companionship/friendship and safety/security. Promises that these will be maintained if the victim complies, or threats that these will be lost if the victim disobeys, are common.

b.Examine the statements and behavior of both the suspect and victim for evidence of emotional manipulation. It is especially important to document any changed or altered behavior.

c.Exploitation of vulnerabilities includes behaviors such as providing alcohol to a drinker in exchange for benefits; having a vision-impaired person sign a legal document; or misrepresenting documents to the cognitively impaired.

4. Acquiescence - The victim appears to consent or submit, but does so because of items 1, 2, and 3.

a.Document the victim’s history of submitting to others, in addition to his or her general behavior.

b.The perpetrator may not directly ask the victim to give money or property.

c.If there is no acquiescence by the victim, consider other prosecutable acts, such as embezzlement, false pretense, or trick and device.

5. Loss – This refers to actual financial loss.

a.Financial loss is usually necessary for criminal prosecution. It is helpful, but not always necessary, for civil litigation.

b.Document all financial losses in chronological order, to help organize evidence associated with each loss.

Undue Influence Worksheets for Police, APS, and Probate Investigators Page 4 of 8
Copyright © 2002 by Bennett Blum, M.D. and Tom Feledy, M.B.A. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ray, there ARE questions which must be asked regarding the use of these so called protocols