Financial Exploitation of the Elderly
Chicago Elder Abuse Lawyers Defending the Rights of Senior Citizens
When an older person is robbed of money or property, it can have a serious detrimental effect. Forcefully or deceptively depriving an elderly individual or nursing home resident is a clear sign of nursing home abuse.
It may be difficult to imagine, but the financial exploitation of seniors occurs far too often in nursing homes throughout the United States. The unlawful manipulation of a senior's funds, assets, or property is a form of elder abuse. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is prevalent among nursing home staff, visitors, and owners of these types of facilities.
Residents of nursing homes work their entire lives to accumulate enough money to sustain themselves through retirement and leave a legacy to pass on to their loved ones. They rightfully trust nursing home staff not only with the management of their health and safety, but also with the faith that they will always act in their best interests.
Chicago Elder Abuse Attorneys Standing Against Exploitation
If this type of illegal behavior happens to you or your loved one, contact our team of nationally respected Chicago elder abuse attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today. Our team can begin our investigation into the details of your loved one's situation right away, utilizing insight from our 50+ combined years of experience and 10,000+ past cases resolved.
In fact, we partner with top litigation firms around the United States to assist our nationwide clients. This allows us to take a multi-firm approach, crafting strong and compelling cases on behalf of nursing home abuse and exploitation victims. We travel directly to our clients and offer representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don't pay any fees unless we recover on your behalf.
Elder Financial Exploitation Is Against the Law
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires the government to assist in the financial activities of those aged 62 and older. This mandate was established to facilitate senior's protection from deceptive behavior from others looking to profit off their vulnerability.
Financial abuse of the elderly can take many forms; for example:
- Those attempting to exploit seniors may impersonate members of religious or government institutions, requesting money to aid in their affairs.
- Court-appointed guardians may manipulate financial decisions to appear differently than they truly are.
- Nursing home staff may forge the signatures of residents on checks or other legal documents.
- Blatant theft may occur from private rooms or former homes being put up for sale or auction.
- Exploitation may even occur in funeral planning; anyone is able to purchase pre-need funeral packages, and reports have surfaced of providers inflating prices, and mismanaging or embezzling the funds seniors have set aside.
The reality of this type of abuse, however, is widely unknown. It is estimated that only 25% of seniors actively report any abuse of this kind. Victims may be ashamed of their vulnerability or fearful of the ramifications of reporting abuse, or seniors may fall victim without their knowledge.
Speak with a Trusted Advocate to Learn About Your Rights
Financial exploitation is the third most common form of abuse in the United States, after neglect and emotional abuse. This type of abuse does not merely drain the assets of the elderly, but deprives them of security. Americans are fully aware of the power of money, and the inability to pay for adequate medical attention may result in injury or premature death.
Nursing home employees are in a prime position to take advantage of unsuspecting elders because they are given complete access to resident files and records. Individuals with monetary security or significant assets are targets for greedy employees, who are willing to use threats, intimidation or other forms of coercion to get what they want. Some may even build a relationship with the resident for years in order to gain the resident's trust and ultimately access saving accounts, wills, or other finances.
Know the Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation
Though financial exploitation may be difficult to detect, there are some red flags that you should watch out for. These include:
- Frequent or unusual withdrawals from accounts
- Forged signatures on significant documents or checks
- New loans or mortgage contracts
- Changes to wills or deeds
- Unexplained disappearance of possessions or funds.
Other less obvious examples of manipulation may occur through overcharging of services, suspicious investments, hesitancy to discuss financial issues, changes in grooming habits, and reluctance to make eye contact with nursing home staff.
If you suspect financial exploitation of a loved one, first verify your doubts with them, and ask to see any pertinent documents such as credit card statements or contracts. If your loved one shows any sign of fear with respect to showing you those documents or speaking about related instances, consider removal or relocation. If you know that a crime has been committed, contact local authorities and file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm in Chicago for Aggressive, Effective Counsel
Our team of Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has extensive experience in this field. We are prepared to represent you aggressively and effectively. Our team serves clients throughout the state and nationwide from our Chicago law office. We also operate on a contingency fee arrangement: unless we win, you don't pay. If you suspect abuse at the hands of a nursing home employee, call Pintas & Mullins immediately at (800) 774-7120 for a free legal consultation.