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Shake-Down Artist Targets Elderly Man

The Crime Voice posted a story this weekend that is a testament to the downright bizarre ways that some criminals seek to take advantage of the unique vulnerabilities of senior citizens.

According to the report, early last month a 67-year old driver was traveling on through a downtown intersection near dusk. At one point the man make a right turn–everything was legal and proper about the right turn. However, out of nowhere a man in his late twenties angrily stopped the senior. The man claims that the senior driver ran into him while he was trying to cross the street. In addition, the younger man made claims about a “hit and run,” suggesting that the senior did not immediately stop after the accident.

Later the senior citizen claimed that the younger man–who was physically much larger than the senior–used bad language and seemed to physically threaten the driver. The senior held his ground, however, and did not admit fault. Instead, the two parties exchange contact information.

The following day the younger man called the driver and said that if the senior paid him $5,000, then the man would not “get the police or insurance involved.” The younger man apparently told the senior that he would press charges and suggested that the senior would likely be put into jail.

Fortunately, though the senior driver was likely targeted because of his age, he did not cower to the younger man’s threats. Instead, he reported the situation to local authorities. The law enforcement officials investigated the matter. They soon discovered that the younger man had a history of breaking the law for financial gain–with convictions for felony fraud and check forgery. Shortly thereafter the man was arrested. He now faces charges of extortion and elder abuse.

Stopping Illinois Senior Abuse – Financial Exploitation
It is fortunate that this particular case turned out as it did. Other seniors may have been less familiar with their rights and submitted to the aggressive huckster’s conduct. This is why it is crucial for third parties to be as vigilant as possible in recognizing when vulnerable seniors may be facing scammers like this. There is no single way identify all problems, but all reasonable suspicions should be followed up on.

This failed extortion attempt is also a reminder of the seemingly bizarre nature of many financial crimes against the elderly. In many cases, they are simply crimes of opportunity, attempted when any chance arrives to fool one that the aggressor thinks might not be as savvy. Sadly, when the victim suffers from various cognitive conditions, like Alzheimer’s and dementia, the wrongdoer is actually able to pull off the scheme without any notice.

The abusers take many forms–from strangers to family members or nursing home care workers. The lawyers at our firm have worked with seniors who have been hurt physically, emotionally, and financially by those on whom they count the most. It is a truly tragic situation that strikes many more individuals that is acceptable. Be sure to follow up on your suspicions and ensure the seniors you care do not fall victim.

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