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Fraud Schemes on Senior Citizens

July 9, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Senior Fraud Crimes Are Extremely Costly

As heartbreaking as it can be, senior citizens are frequently the targets of a multitude of fraud schemes. According to a popular study that was carried out by MetLife and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, the yearly financial losses from fraud schemes on senior citizens was $2.9 billion. Because of the substantial damage imposed by financial offenses against senior citizens, state and federal prosecuting attorneys are often very diligent and severe when going after the suspected offender(s).

Regrettably, this increased severity toward people who are suspected of committing financial fraud against senior citizens has resulted in numerous wrongful arrests as well as violations of the rights of suspects or exceedingly harsh penalties. Whether you need to proclaim your innocence or battle for fair and reasonable sentencing, you will need a skilled federal defense attorney to stand by your side and fight for you in court. 

For your edification, it can be helpful to look at some of the most common types of fraud.

Most Common Types of Fraud Crimes Against Senior Citizens

There are a multitude of reasons why scammers and con artists target senior citizens. Some elder people have a “nest egg” or excellent credit; in some cases, they don’t report the scam, perhaps out of pride or not wanting their family to think they are becoming mentally incapacitated. Quite frequently, scammers are aware that things like age may render the elderly person’s report to the police less detailed and/or viable.

Hundreds of different types of fraud scams exist.  Here are some of the most commonly perpetrated scams:

  • Repair or product scams. Scammers or contractors might reach out to an elderly person and request credit information for a repair or new product. In some cases, a contractor or another individual might overcharge the elderly person or charge them multiple times. This tactic is often used with magazine subscriptions.
  • Uncollected debt scam. After the death of a spouse (and when the elderly victim is enduring a rather vulnerable time), the scammer would call or email and tell the victim that the deceased spouse left thousands of dollars in debt that needs to be paid.
  • Prizes and sweepstakes. In this scam, the fraudster informs the victim that he or she has won a prize, but to get the prize, the victim needs to send in money to cover taxes or shipping..
  • Investment scams. Numerous elderly people are searching for places to invest their money. As such, some scammers offer “investments” in the form of artificial jewelry, uninhabitable property, or shares in a company that doesn’t exist.
  • Health or life insurance scams. Fraudsters prey on an individual’s concerns about health or end-of-life by peddling policies that are already covered by the individual’s current plan or policies that don’t cover any of what was promised.

Fraud Perpetrated by Friends, Family, or Caregivers

On top of the scams committed by strangers, there are numerous types of fraud committed by the people who are close to the elderly victim. Frequently, the most common financial crims that are committed by a person close to the elderly victim is theft (the taking of money or valuables). Nevertheless, other types of fraud carried out by family, friends, or caregivers can include:

  • Endorsing or cashing pension or social security checks without the recipient’s permission
  • Unauthorized use of ATM or credit cards
  • Coercing or manipulating an elderly individual to give up property or other resources
  • Withholding medical services to conserve funds

It is critical to note that some kinds of fraud against the elderly are extremely subtle, such as persuading a mentally incapacitated family member to sign a power of attorney or make changes to his/her will.

Defense For Individuals Charged With Fraud

Fraud is an egregious act that involves taking advantage of other people for personal gain. However, citizens in the United States are entitled to having their rights upheld.  That includes the rights of due process and also the presumption of innocence. Should you learn that you are under investigation or if you have been charged with a financial crime, then you need the legal assistance and expert defense services of a qualified fraud attorney

Since the prosecution has the burden of demonstrating, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the crime, your attorneys can pressure the prosecution’s narrative with some of these strategies:

  • Bringing the evidence and/or testimony into question
  • Litigating the lack of sufficient evidence linking the defendant and the crime
  • The defendant was giving “false” statements in good faith, as opposed to what have been colored as “fraudulent” statements
  • The defendant had no intent to commit a criminal offense
  • The defendant was a victim of entrapment

 

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