Nationally representative studies conclude that nearly 10 percent of older Americans have experienced some form of financial exploitation or fraud in the past year, with some experts asserting that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, the population of Americans who likely will be exposed to elder fraud and abuse is growing significantly.
The financial loss to older Americans is estimated in the billions of dollars, without accounting for costs to family members and society. Many older victims of fraud or financial exploitation also experience a diminished quality of life and increased mortality.
The Department of Justice is making assertive efforts to interrupt the scourge of financial exploitation and fraud against older Americans. As part of these efforts, the Department is funding the National White Collar Crime Center (https://www.nw3c.org/) to enhance the ability of state and local law enforcement to respond effectively to complex elder fraud cases.
In announcing those efforts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said:
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting all Americans from fraud and exploitation. Few things are more despicable than defrauding vulnerable persons. We have to do a better job of addressing this problem. This training will equip our partners in state and local law enforcement to ensure that our seniors receive justice and the criminals who defraud them receive consequences. I applaud the communities chosen for this training and look forward to seeing their results.”
Through carefully crafted programs, the National White Collar Crime Center will provide training in eight selected communities, with up to 100 law enforcement officers per community, on Financial Crimes against Seniors. This training, developed by the National White Collar Crime Center, will reach up to 800 law enforcement officers, who in turn will share what they have learned with their fellow officers.
The eight communities selected for this highly sought after training are:
- Wilmington, Delaware (Delaware Department of Justice)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (Minnesota Chiefs Association & Minnesota Sheriff’s Association)
- Denmark, Tennessee (Madison County Sheriff’s Office)
- Topeka, Kansas (State of Kansas Office of Attorney General)
- Hidalgo County, Texas (Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office)
- Columbia, South Carolina (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED))
- Ada, Oklahoma (Council of Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET))
- King County, Washington (King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office)
In addition, the Department of Justice, through its Elder Justice Initiative, is working on multiple other fronts to protect older Americans from financial exploitation and fraud, as well as other forms of elder abuse.
The Department continues to prosecute aggressively mass mailing fraud schemes, such as lottery and sweepstakes scams, many of which are international in nature and target seniors. The Department also launched 10 regional Elder Justice Task Forces across the country to enhance the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to work together to combat elder financial fraud and to pursue those nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care to their Medicare and Medicaid residents (https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/task-forces).
The Department also actively supports state and local efforts to prevent and combat elder abuse by:
Check the Law Enforcement Webpage (https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/law-enforcement-1) periodically for these and other materials as they become available. More information about the Department of Justice’s elder justice efforts can be found on its Elder Justice Website at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.