Thunder Bay (June 16, 2020) – The Thunder Bay police arrested and charged a 56-year-old Calgary woman as a result of an investigation into a suspected elder financial abuse. The accused is a family member of the 82-year-old victim and allegedly stole about $100,000 over five months. The suspected woman turned herself in to police on June 11.
Thunder Bay police arrested a Calgary woman who is accused of defrauding one of her relatives as a result of an investigation into suspected elder financial abuse, according to a press release from June 15.
Suspicious banking activity led to arrest in elder financial abuse
In May of this year, a concerned family member of the 82-year-old victim reported a suspicious banking activity to the police.
Elder financial abuse is not always easy to recognize. The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) describes five common warning signs for elder financial abuse. First, unusual financial transactions, such as bank withdrawals or the liquidation of investments is a red flag for financial exploitation. Second, the sudden inability to pay bills, and third, when they are no longer buying things they need such as clothes, groceries, or medications. The fourth warning sign is when they assume financial responsibility for a family member, or fifth, if they suddenly change their feelings about a particular person such as unusual fear.
During a six-week investigation, a Thunder Bay Crimes Against Seniors investigator discovered numerous suspicious banking transactions totaling more than $82,000 over five months. Additionally, the investigation revealed other fraudulent means that amount to another $20,000 that was siphoned out of the senior’s bank account. The police identified the 56-year-old Calgary woman, who is a family member of the victim, as the suspect connected to the financial elder abuse.
Personal relationships are often the core of elder financial abuse
The accused turned herself in to the police on June 11. She has been charged with Fraud Over $5,000, Theft Over $5,000, Criminal Breach of Trust, and Theft by Person Holding Power of Attorney. The woman is scheduled to appear in court on August 28.
Yesterday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse. It is usually inflicted by people closest to the seniors including family members, caregivers, and friends.
‘Elder abuse is a serious and growing problem,’ stated the OPP. ‘It is estimated that six to 10 per cent of seniors aged 65 and over residing in Ontario are abused. Abuse can occur anywhere, including in your own home, home of the caregiver, long-term care homes, retirement homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals.’
The growing incidents of scams involving older people are putting many at risk, threatening to strip them of their assets, their confidence, and their safety. Elder financial abuse often remains unreported until a large portion of an older person’s savings is gone. For that reason, it is important to talk with elder loved ones about finances and watch for the signs of elder abuse.