Reporting Elder Abuse to State/County D.A.

Posted By: Madawaska

Reporting Elder Abuse to State/County D.A. - 12/15/15 01:52 PM

I have an ongoing potential elder abuse situation. Victim customer appears to be financially controlled by her son. Three reports have been filed so far this year. The situation has been investigated by the county dept of aging and their case was closed. As soon as the potential victim's physician declared the victim "cognizant", the dept of aging closed the case. It was not investigated as a financial crime.

Local law enforcement (township police) were recently contacted, but the detective appeared not to be interested, and stated that it was extremely rare for a victim to prosecute a family member, and therefore there is no crime committed.

The state of PA has an elder abuse unit managed through the Attorney General's office. Elder abuse can be reported to this unit, and it appears they will field it out to the county D.A.'s office for investigation.

My question is whether I can, within the safe harbor, contact the county District Attorney's office directly, or even file with the PA Attorney General's office.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Posted By: Daisy Doodle

Re: Reporting Elder Abuse to State/County D.A. - 12/15/15 03:22 PM

I have had little luck getting elder abuse agencies or government agencies to help out in elder exploitation cases. They have flat out told me they have limited resources and they focus on elders in physical danger or unsafe living conditions. Even when they have engaged they did so so late that a lot of money was gone. I find it easier to report as required, but then to move to deal with it as best we can ourselves. If there is enough money, suggest a trust account. Or, for example, if the son is withdrawing cash, I would put a note on the account that he is required to speak with the branch manager with each withdrawal over a certain amount--let him explain each time how the withdrawal benefits his mother. If he is misusing the debit card we remove the privilege. If he is having personal ACH payments come through, reject them. Etc. I guess it depends on your bank's commitment to elder exploitation. The last resort is account closure if you have just had enough, or he becomes abusive in some way. Or, your bank could just decide to report and let it happen--that is allowable if you can stomach it. Your bank's culture will make a lot of the decisions on this.
Posted By: Elwood P. Dowd

Re: Reporting Elder Abuse to State/County D.A. - 12/17/15 12:00 PM

If you have filed a SAR, you can discuss the situation with law enforcement. Beyond that, it's entirely an issue of state law.