The Gainesville Sun reported last week on the end of an elder financial exploitation criminal case. The case stems from senior financial abuse committed against a 93-year old woman by her neighbor. This particular criminal case took a series of twists and turns before ultimately ending in a no contest plea and sentence against a 53-year old woman.
The crimes were first brought to the attention of local authorities when the senior’s daughter ended up staying with her mother for an extended visit. During that time she noticed that her mother was not getting any mail. This seems suspicious, and so the daughter investigated more to figure out what was going on. Upon inquiring with the post office, the daughter learned that her elderly mother’s neighbor-the defendant-has arranged for the mail to be held at the post office.
It wasn’t until later that the daughter learned why-she didn’t want the daughter to see bank statements and other financial documents. Upon getting access to the mail, the senior’s daughter realized that something was wrong with her mother’s financial situation. She called the local sheriff’s office to report that money was missing from bank accounts. The authorities discovered that at least $21,000 had been fraudulently written from the elderly woman’s account. Most of the checks were made out to the senior’s two neighbors.
Upon collecting this information the authorities originally charged both women neighbors with the senior financial abuse. However, eventually it became clear that one of the women-the defendant’s 48-year old live-in partner-had no idea that the misconduct was taking place. Instead, her partner was writing the checks in her name without her knowledge. However, it took local authorities a bit of time to sort this out. Instead, both women were charged. The innocent partner actually lost her job as a physician’s assistance because of the mix-up.
Authorities realized that one of the women masterminded the whole thing when they discovered that she had done the same thing in two different states. Eventually the woman pled no contest to the charges. Last week a judge sentenced her to seven years in prison and eight years probation following the plea.
Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys understand that actual punishment for this sort of exploitation is actually rare. Many seniors have money taken from them by dubious means, and a majority of them never see any justice. That is because they often have no one paying attention to their interests. Even in this case, had the daughter not been staying for an extended visit it is unlikely that she ever would have discovered the mail situation. Without that warning sign, there’s a chance that she never would have investigated and uncovered the financial problems.
Each Illinois senior abuse lawyer at our firm wants to take this opportunity to again remind all local residents to be on the look out for any indication that a senior family member or friend who may have been taken advantage of financially. Much of this conduct remains hidden because the senior never learns that they have been victimized and those in a position to stop of the abuse do nothing.
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