Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill today which seeks to limit senior financial exploitation across the state. Abusing the finances of elderly residents is often cited as the most common form of senior abuse. Many seniors are especially vulnerable to financial exploitation, because they lack the ability to adequately defend themselves.
The abuse can take many forms and occur at the hands of various individuals. Earlier this month we posted on the financial abuse of an elderly couple by a fraudulent individual who claimed to provide necessary roofing work on their home. Instead of provided any home repair, however, the individual took the several thousand dollar payments from the couple without doing any work.
Also, elderly financial exploitation often occurs at the hands of nursing home staff members. Providing care to these vulnerable residents, nursing home staff members maintain a dominant and potentially abusive role in the lives of nursing home residents. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have decades of experience in dealing with all forms of elder abuse, including financial exploitation. Through the years our attorneys have seen many cases of nursing home staff members gaining access to their residents’ funds and stealing thousands of dollars from the weak and vulnerable individuals in their care.
The bill signed by the governor today to combat these abuses seeks to train bank employees to recognize the warning signs associated with elder financial exploitation. Those warning signals include sudden changes to an account or the banking practices of seniors, unauthorized ATM withdrawals, sudden changes to a will, and other similar activities.
Last year alone, Illinois had over 6,200 reported cases of senior financial abuse. However, only 3% of those cases were reported by banking representatives. Hopefully this new legislation increases the role of the banks in protecting vulnerable seniors from this prevalent problem. In any case, anyone who suspects an elderly family or friend may be the victim of similar abuse should report it immediately.
To read more about the newly signed legislation, please Click Here.