Thursday, February 11, 2010

Financial Elder Abuse Is a Growing Concern for California’s Growing Elderly Population

As the “boomer” generation ages, experts predict that the problem of financial elder abuse will boom as well. Incidents of elder abuse in California and across the nation are already becoming an issue of serious concern among lawmakers.

The California Department of Aging reports that by 2050, there will be 14.6 million Californians over the age of 60 and that between 2010 and 2020, there will be a 128% increase in the number of Californians in that age group. The report also states that San Diego County can expect a 96% increase in the number of residents over the age of 60 between 2010 and 2030.

Recent Headlines Highlight Financial Elder Abuse Problem

California news headlines are replete with recent incidents of financial elder abuse committed by financial institutions. Here are just a couple of examples of the egregious behavior that has been in the news recently. On February 4, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a Bank of America customer service representative has been charged with stealing $61,000 from a 96-year-old woman after convincing her to allow him access to her accounts as her personal banker. On January 10, 2010, Investment News reported that a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel awarded a 95-year-old man $1.6 million after finding a Beverly Hills investment firm and two of its brokers guilty of self-dealing. The brokers convinced the man to leverage his equity in his home to make overly risky investments. (FINRA is an independent regulatory agency, empowered by the federal government to oversee securities and brokerage firms and protect investors.)

$2.6 in Annual Losses

According to a study released last year by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, financial elder abuse results in an annual loss of $2.6 billion. The study also found that that the people who commit the abuse are usually people in a position of trust, including family members and business professionals. Common types of financial elder abuse committed by business professionals included: false sales of and misrepresentations concerning stocks and other investments; and fraudulent banking practices including “account draining or siphoning.”

We Help Victims of Financial Elder Abuse

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been a victim of financial elder abuse, we can help you. Contact The Casiano Law Firm for a confidential consultation.