August 27, 2011

Nursing Homes Targeted in Nationwide Crime Ring

by Levin & Perconti

Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect is a significant problem in many ways because of the particular vulnerabilities of the seniors involved. Many nursing homes residents need assistance with basic tasks, have little ability to defend themselves against aggressors, and often cannot adequately report their mistreatment to others. As a result of these issues our Chicago nursing home lawyers know that far too often they are forced to live day in and day out with poor care, often only ending when medical complications stemming from the neglect ends their life.

Unfortunately, the particular susceptibilities of nursing home residents means that they are targeted by all those will ill motives. We have often shared information on cases of elder financial abuse where unscrupulous individuals target seniors in an attempt to swindle them out of their life savings. Many advocates have explained how this form of abuse is widely underreported, often because seniors are not sure what happened and may be embarrassed by the deception. These financial abuse schemes take many forms and are perpetrated by many individuals. Sometimes nursing home employees or at-home caregivers take advantage of their position of power and steal from those in their care. Other times close friends or relatives of the vulnerable senior use deception and confusion to convince the elderly to depart with vast sums of money.

Last week McKnights Long Term Care News reported on a new and bizarre crime ring that authorities believe involve young burglars targeting nursing homes. The unique scheme involves a group of young men who dress up as female nurses and illegally enter nursing homes. The men then sneak around into patients’ rooms while they are away for meals or other activities. Once alone inside these criminals take credit cards and use them at local retailers. Authorities report that fraudulent expenditures related to this activity may already be as high as $100,000.

There have been at least 20 separate incidents of this kind throughout the country. Investigators believe that the string of burglaries that started in April are all linked to a national crime ring. At least six separate states have reported the problem.

As this strange new series of burglaries illustrates, it seems that seniors remain the target of many criminals who are willing to go to any lengths to take advantage of senior vulnerabilities. It is stories like these that recommit our Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys for standing up and ensuring that justice and accountability is had when these residents are mistreated and abused. It is important for all elder care advocates to remain vigilant to ensure that seniors are not silent victims of all sorts of misdeeds. Without protective eyes watching on their behalf, literally thousands of elderly victims may ultimately be severely harmed or killed by the failure of those around them to provide the basic services that they need.

If you or someone you know suspects mistreatment at a nursing home or long-term care facility, please visit our office and see if we can help.


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