Elders Bilked of Savings
Published By rubyhawk on 2011-03-11 67 Views
Many elderly people who choose to stay in their own homes rather than go into assisted-living are bilked out of their savings and even their homes by dishonest caregivers.
Most elderly people choose to stay in their own homes rather than going into Assisted-Living homes. And why wouldn’t they want to stay in the home they have worked for the larger portion of their lives. But sad to say as families spread out to distant places, there’s often no one left to overlook the welfare of the elderly person. That’s when a caregiver must be hired. Caregivers can be a lifesaver when they are good honest people but the reverse happens more often than we like to think. Too many hired caregivers come into the home and take advantage of the situation. The caregiver has the run of the house, access to bank account statements, check books, and all other financial documents.
Jeanne Canavan head of the “White Collar Crime Unit” in Atlanta, is one of the few prosecutors in Georgia to use an obscure state law, The-Protection-of-Adults-and-Elder-Persons-Act, to send perpetraters away for up to five years in prison. “We are seeing elderly persons with their savings wiped out and their homes taken away.”Canavan said. “They take everything they have. We see it over and over.”
One example is Rukhsana Burton who operated Caregivers of Atlanta. Harold Williams 92 who is a widow and has no children hired Burton in 2007. Burton soon began forging his checks from investment accounts over to herself. Williams was alerted when some of his checks mailed in for utilities were returned stamped “no funds.” Williams called the police. Burton had forged $180,000 before she was caught. She said she paid medical bills and bought her self a car. $99,109 of Williams money was in Burton’s account at the time of her arrest. That money was returned to Williams and when Burton gets out of jail in seven years, she must begin paying back the $109,000 she stole from Williams.
Canavan says she thinks of her late grandmother who taught her how to make cookies and play cards and how she would like to be treated in such a situation. So the DA’s office recently bought a wheel chair when Canavan realized one of their elderly victims who was 90 years old would have to struggle getting in and out of court. Investigators also drive to pick up elderly victims and take them to court. “We give them door to door service.” said Canavan.
Georgia has no licensing requirements for individuals who provide care in a private home.
An agency who provides personal care must be licensed through the state Office Regulatory Service and must screen, train, and supervise employees.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources offers these recommendations for those who want to hire a personal care giver:
* Consider using a licensed private care agency.
* Get a criminal background check at a local police office.
* Screen on the Sex Offenders Registry.
A suspected case of abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly who do not live in assisted-living homes should be directed to the Adult Protective Services Central Intake Unit.