Older adults are vulnerable when compared to younger people. They may have less physical strength, compromised mental faculties and no current stream of income other than retirement benefits. They may depend on their family and trusted professionals to manage the responsibilities of daily life. Some people will abuse these vulnerable older adults.
Elder abuse often occurs within families, but it can also occur in professional relationships. Caregivers at nursing homes, in-home nursing professionals and other workers with routine access to older adults may use their position for personal profit at the expense of their clients, residents or customers.
Recently, a well-established insurance agent out of Palm Springs faced arrest after a lengthy fraud investigation implicated him in the financial abuse of several of his elderly clients. This case shows exactly how even seemingly respectable professionals could mistreat and abuse the people who depend on them.
How an insurance professional could hurt older adults
The idea that an insurance agent committed elder abuse may seem strange at first. After all, an agent wouldn’t usually have direct contact with their clients. Those who work in insurance are in a position of trust. They help clients figure out how much coverage they need to protect themselves and also help them manage their claims when something unexpected happened. They also have access to their personal information.
Unfortunately for those who hired a particular Palm Springs insurance agent, his cut of the annual premium wasn’t enough. He allegedly also kept premium payments that should have gone straight to the insurance company and intentionally diverted more than $75,000 from just one client’s bank account. There are also allegations of identity theft.
Currently, the agent in question faces 45 different criminal charges including grand theft and financial elder abuse.
Some people prey on vulnerable adults
As adults grow older, their memory, organization and endurance may decline. There are, unfortunately, people who will happily take advantage of older adults who put their trust in the professionals that support them.
Older adults coping with abuse and family members who uncover financial misconduct when reviewing someone’s estate may have reason to bring claims about that financial elder abuse in civil court or to initiate investigations had a criminal level. Recognizing different kinds of financial elder abuse will help you protect vulnerable family members.