Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti most commonly work with victims and their families following deadly medical complications or injuries that a nursing home resident suffers following abuse and neglect by the facility. However, while that might be the most common form of elder neglect that actually makes it to the courtroom, there may be other forms of abuse that occur just as frequently (if not more). One such problem is the misuse, exploitation, and downright theft of elderly financial resources.
For example, WSLS 2 News reported last week on a tragic example of financial exploitation by a former social worker. The 36-year-old abuser had spent time working for several different elderly patients. One of those patients, an 89-year old woman, ultimately had her bank account drained of almost $25,000 during a ten month period in 2009. Shortly after, the worker then used her role to take more nearly $9,000 from another elderly resident in her care. Authorities believe that the criminal used the funds for a variety of personal items like cloths and groceries.
In another care the same social worker abused her position as caregiver for a dementia patient. She wrote checks to herself without the patient’s consent and used the victim’s ATM card. The worker even went so far as lying to bank authorities to acquire new checks for the woman and then using those checks for personal items.
The US States Attorney prosecuting the case explained, “Rather than safeguarding the resources of the elderly victims who put their trust in her, [the social worker] stole from them…Her actions were despicable and call for a harsh response.”
Far too often the rights of these vulnerable victims are never discovered or vindicated. All community members need to remain on the look-out for possible abuse of the seniors around them to ensure that elder abuse in all forms is stamped out.