Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 27, 2012
DA: Senior exploitation rises with aging population increase
Dr. Robin McGhee
has relocated toWalmart Vision Center1825 Rockbridge RdStone Mountain, Ga. 30087Dr. McGhee practicedoptometry at Lenscrafters onMemorial Drive for almost 20years. She welcomes previ-ous patients. Appointmentscan be made at
by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comAn 81-year-old DeKalbCounty woman was de-frauded of approximately$25,000 beginning in Feb-ruary 2010 and her ex-son-in-law faced a judgefor the crime on Jan.19.
,57, of Tucker, ischarged with identityfraud and exploi-tation of an elder person for allegedlydefrauding
, accordingto....Wright “moved inwith [Flowers] at atime when she need-ed some assistancein overseeing her retirement and help-ing here manage her nancial day-to-dayactivities,” said
, a DeKalbCounty assistant dis-trict attorney during a hear-ing in the case.Chester allegedly cre-ated an on-line businesscalled the Narrow GateRecovery Center and usedFlowers’ Bank of Americacredit card and checkingaccount to make transac-tions via PayPal to NarrowGate, Riley alleged.Chester is accused of making 59 transfers be-tween February 2010 andFebruary 2011 to NarrowGate which, according toits website, “provides faith- based spiritual healing anddiscipleship for the chemi-cally addicted and othersstruggling with life issues.”When Flowers realizedthat the funds in her ac-count were not increasing,she contacted the DeKalbCounty Police Department,Riley said.“That’s a big hit to any-one, but if you’re 81 yearsold and you’re retired…something like that couldcast you into poverty,” saidDeKalb’s District Attorney
.“Unfortunately, we seethis all too often,” Jamessaid. “It’s often timessomeone that they trust,that they know. It’s a fam-ily member, it’s a caregiver,it’s a trusted neighbor. Wesee stranger on stranger, but we see a lot of abuse bya caregiver.”James said seniors aretargets for nancial exploi-tation because they are of-ten stable, having substan-tial savings or retirementincome.“There are so many dif-ferent ways where peoplecan …purport to be some- body else and gain accessto our seniors’ hard-earnedand long-saved dollars,”James said. “It is an unfor-tunate reality in the societywe live in.”Elder exploitation willcontinue to rise as the se-nior population increases,James said.“Not only do we havemore people aging becauseof the baby boomers, but people are living longer,”James said.“Because of the increas-ing number of senior citi-zens, law enforcement andthe business community aregoing to have to addressways to protect the nancesof the elderly,” James said.“People are preying on our seniors, but if you think it’s bad right now, fast-forward15 years and it’s only goingto get worse because there’sonly going to be more se-niors that need care.”In another case,
are facingcharges of exploitation of an elder person, identityfraud, and nancial transac-tion card fraud.Impersonating 71-year-old
, Ew-ing allegedly reported thevictim’s bank card as miss-ing and ordered a replace-ment card, James said.The victim reported thefraud to police and wasable to identify Ewing bylistening to a recording of the defendant reporting thecard stolen, James said.“These people havexed incomes,” James said.“When they lose money it’sgone. If you’re on a xedincome and all you have isa Social Security check andsavings or investment fund,if somebody messes withyour nest egg, you’ve allof a sudden been cast into poverty.”Law enforcement isonly part of the solution,James said.“When we prosecutethem, yes, we get jail time, but the reality is you can’tget blood out of a turnip,”James said. “If someonesteals tens of thousandsof dollars from a senior citizen, we rarely get thattens of thousands of dollars back.”In Wright’s case, his at-torney,
,said his client is unem- ployed and is ina masters’ pro-gram for Chris-tian counseling.“He’s tryingto turn him-self around,”Hankins toldthe judge as heasked for pro- bation for hisclient.Wrightturned downan offer byJudge
of twoyears in jailwith an eight-year probation.Wright changedhis plea to notguilty and willseek a jury trial.James said society needsto better educate seniorsto protect themselves. Se-niors who are able shouldcontinue to check their -nances, he said.“Don’t just blindly trustsomeone because they area family member,” Jamessaid.James said other steps
‘ If you’re on a ﬁ xed income and all you have is a Social Security check and savings or investment fund, if somebody messes with … your nest egg, you’ve all of a suddenbeen cast into poverty.’
– DeKalb District Attorney Robert James
seniors can take to protecttheir nances include:• Do not talk to telemarket-ers or give personal infor-mation to callers.• Buy a shredder anddestroy sensitive docu-ments.• Get a lock for home mail- boxes.• Partner with a caregiver and regularly check per-sonal nances.“It’s OK to have some-one helping you take careof your bills, but you haveto know what’s in your bank account,” James said.