Fighting Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

By Michael G. Kelly, Esq., Arizona Mobile Attorneys

As people age they become more vulnerable, both physically and mentally. If they live alone this vulnerability can be worsened by feelings of loneliness and depression. This vulnerability can lead to various forms of abuse of the elderly by others. The most common of these is financial exploitation.

Financial exploitation can take various forms. The most common are when a person the elder is depending on for care or emotional support convinces a vulnerable elder to transfer assets the elder owns to that person, such as by adding them to a bank account or as a death beneficiary on the account, or by deeding their home to them. This type of conduct need not be accompanied by threats or coercion in order to be deemed unlawful financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. It most often occurs with elderly females who live alone or with the abuser (75%).

Fortunately Arizona has laws that aggressively deal with situations where persons take advantage of vulnerable elders to financially exploit them. Exploitation of a vulnerable adult falls under the theft statute in Arizona and can carry a 5 to 12.5 year prison sentence.  In addition an elder, or those who are in a position to protect the elder, may file a law suit to recover damages up to three times the actual damages caused.

If you have been exploited or know a vulnerable adult who has you should take action immediately to report the criminal activity to an attorney representing you, to local police, or to the Attorney General of Arizona. This will help to stamp out this type of exploitation and help recover the vulnerable elder’s property. At Arizona Mobile Attorneys we stand ready to aggressively attack this assault on our elders.

© 2020, Michael G. Kelly