St Paul Justice Center Advocates Against Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a concern in the Twin Cities, throughout Minnesota, and beyond. It is something that happens quite frequently and seniors and their families frequently seek justice, the St. Paul Justice Center is an attempt to assist with the problem.
Now there is a very ambitious effort being made in St. Paul. This is a new resource in the fight against elder abuse in Minnesota and it is focused on financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
The Minnesota Elder Justice Center is scheduled to open at the William Mitchell College of law in January 2015. It combines the Center for Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell with the S.A.F.E. Elder’s initiative that was created by the Anoka County attorney’s office. The center will have a staff, have a toll-free hotline, and offer a number of resources through a website.
One of the goals is to remove the walls of shame that families feel in cases where the elderly may be financially abused.
One advocate stated that seniors are being victimized for billions of dollars in a number of ways by family members, Internet scams, and fraud. At one time, the law on these crimes was not very clear. But it does come down to asking seniors three questions: if they are afraid, if anyone is hurting them, and if anyone is taking their money without their permission.
Need for New St. Paul Justice Center
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that approximately 2 million elderly individuals fall victim to financial exploitation each year. That is a collective loss of $3 billion every year. In Minnesota, the allegations of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults rose from nearly 4,000 reports in 2011 to over 5,500 reports in 2013.
The problems are typically not recognized or reported as much as they should be, according to AARP Minnesota. People are taking advantage of the elderly at their most vulnerable points.
Two-thirds of elder abuse victims state that isolation is a major problem. Twenty percent of them say that they have recently lost their jobs and nearly 50 percent say that they suffered a financial loss before they fell prey to the scams that took even more of their money. This may explain why there is a higher percentage of online scam victims than there used to be. In 2007, this percentage was 20 percent. In 2011, it had risen to 40 percent. Many of these scams originated in pop-up ads or emails that seniors clicked on.
In one case, a woman living in Ramsey County after her husband passed away met another man on an online dating site. The man talked the woman into giving him $130,000 to invest for her. She later learned that the man had several swindling convictions. He pleaded guilty to theft by swindle in the case of the woman and is scheduled for sentencing in July.
In another case, a Maple Grove City woman exploited her dying father. In Rush City, a woman is charged with exploiting her mother by taking and spending approximately $90,000 of her mother’s assets.
Now law enforcement and others will have a new resource to help them combat the financial abuse that is happening to elders in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota.
Help Protect Seniors – Elder Justice Center – Report Suspected Abuse
For more information from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Facility Complaints concerning nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care providers view resolved complaints at the MDH website.
If you have concerns about financial exploitation or any other form of elder abuse or neglect contact Minnesota Elder Abuse Attorney Kenneth LaBore toll free at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.