When people get to their retirement years, they are often counting on the savings and assets they have accumulated during their lifetime to pay for whatever they need. Unfortunately, there are those who try to take advantage of these people and victims may not have full cognitive and physical abilities due to their age. There are laws in Florida and elsewhere to protect seniors from elder financial abuse, which is often perpetrated by family members of the older person. However, one recent out-of-state case shows that sometimes elder abuse can come from outside the family as well.
A former state lawmaker was convicted recently on several charges relating to elder financial fraud, including theft and income tax evasion. Authorities say that he took over $3 million from two different women under false pretenses and did not report the money on his income taxes. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and told to pay $750,000 in restitution to the two elderly women. This is on top of money that authorities have already recovered from him, and any forthcoming money that might be recovered.
Authorities say that the lawmaker wrote checks for his own personal use and for his company from the women's various accounts. He was the power of attorney for one woman and named the trustee of accounts for the other woman. The man also stole money from a trust for one of the women's sons who is a disabled veteran living here in Florida. The man's status as a financial professional, officials say, is what facilitated his ability to financially abuse these women.
Though elder financial abuse is never the victim's fault, this case still shows how important it is for people to ensure that they have a comprehensive estate plan in place. An experienced attorney can help families determine what details must be included in the estate plan. It can offer peace of mind that one's finances will be properly managed as they age and even after their life has concluded.