I am sure the elder exploitation happens daily in Florida due to the large size of our elderly population and a willing group who will take advantage of them, but it always hurts when you see it happen locally. Here is a report about elder exploitation that was occurring in Tampa. While details are scarce at this point, it is alleged that a caregiver stole over $46,000 from an elderly person. Luckily the caregiver was arrested and will be prevented from further exploitation, if he is convicted. Here, the article says that:
From September to November, Johnson [the caregiver] wrote checks for himself from the victim’s account and cashed them, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He also bought items using the senior’s credit cards. He didn’t have permission to make the purchases or access the senior’s banking records, the release said.
Elder exploitation is a crime in Florida and is punishable for up to a third degree felony. There are both criminal penalties, such as jail time, and civil penalties (money judgments) for exploiters. The criminal penalties are set forth in Florida Statutes and we have more on the civil penalties and cause of action here.
While elder exploitation can occur to anyone at any time, here are some things that can help you prevent exploitation for your you or your loved one:
- Name a trustworthy durable power of attorney (generally do not name a caregiver in this role)
- Create a revocable living trust and resign as trustee if you are getting memory/impairment issues
- Seek an elder exploitation injunction if exploitation is suspected
- Look to a guardianship if the elder is incapacitated
We have a great deal of exploitation in Florida but our law firm is able to help you in all manners to assist our elderly population and their families. Our services include:
- Estate planning
- Elder Exploitation advocacy
- Civil litigation against exploiters
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance.