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January 4, 2006


The Source of Information and Assistance on Elder Abuse

Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly (CANE)

Annotated Bibliography
Financial Abuse, Undue Influence, Scams, Frauds and Protection of Assets
November 2003

Older individuals may be more susceptible to financial exploitation and fraud simply because many have assets in the forms of savings, stocks, insurance policies, and property. Seniors with dementia or mental health concerns may be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse by friends and family members or court appointed guardians who exert undue influence. They may also be targeted for identity theft or become victimized by predatory lending practices. Elders may experience financial abuse in conjunction with other forms of abuse and intimidation. Detecting the abuse may be difficult as the victim may be generally isolated and dependent upon the abuser(s).

This annotated bibliography contains citations for references that address these and other aspects of elder financial exploitation. Included are a number of articles that address the need for protection of assets and other consumer issues.

To Order Articles from the Annotated Bibliography:

The following collection of resources highlights various aspects of elder financial abuse and exploitation. Many of these publications are literally at your finger tips as they are online.* Unless otherwise indicated, reference materials may be obtained through CANE. Some resources, such as videos and manuals, are only available directly through the agencies that produce them; in such instances the contact information is provided.

The digits following the hyphen in the file numbers indicate the total number of photocopied pages. For example, if the file number is A78-11, then this article (number A78-11) is 11 pages in length. Generally, articles of interest will be forwarded to you at a cost of $.20 per page. However, it may be possible to send you single copies of a few short articles at no cost. CANE endeavors to fulfill your requests as quickly as possible, and we urge you to contact us regarding your interest in receiving any of the following. CANE may be contacted by telephone (302/831-3525), by email ([email protected]) or by mail at:

University of Delaware
Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly/CANE
Department of Consumer Studies
Alison Hall West (annex) - Rm. 211
Newark, DE 19716

To find other resources on elder abuse and neglect, visit the CANE web site at

(A note about web addresses: like the enchanted staircases at Hogwort's, web pages can mysteriously move. In the event that a web address given is no longer accurate, we recommend that you search for the title on a generic search engine, such as Google. Please contact the CANE office if you need assistance.)

Annotated Bibliography:

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions - Subcommittee on Aging - Executive Session
Hearing on Financial Abuse and Exploitation
Washington, D.C.; October 30, 2003
This hearing presents testimony from Richard Chambers (Victim, Maryland), J. Joseph Curran, J. (AG, Baltimore, MD), Carol Scott (Ombudsman, MO, and National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs or NASOP), Robert Blancato (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse or NCPEA), and W. Lee Hammond (AARP). Numerous examples of financial abuse are described as exploitation occurring within the community and in nursing homes. Pending legislation is commented upon by participants. (Note: Testimonies are accessible from the Committee's schedule page at

U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Hearing entitled: Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation: Are We Doing Enough?
Washington, D.C.; September 24, 2003
This hearing, sponsored by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary presented testimony from Daniel Mihalko (U.S. Postal Inspection Service), James Huse (Inspector General of the Social Security Administration), Christopher Chiles (Prosecuting Attorney, Cabell County, WV), Lori Stiegel (Commission on Law and Aging, American Bar Association), James Wright (TRIAD, National Sheriff's Association) and from Senators Biden and Leahy. The hearing addressed crimes against and financial exploitation of the elderly. (Note: The witness testimony may be accessed online at the Judiciary committee's web site at

Wilkinson, C. & Wilkinson, P.
Financial Abuse: A Case Study & Litigation Guide for the Elder Law Attorney
NAELA Quarterly (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys); 18-21; Summer 2003
Using an illustrative case study, this article emphasizes key components of litigating elder financial abuse. In this scenario, a trusted, long-time employee has been named the agent of a husband who is suffering from dementia. Although she does not have power of attorney for his wife, she represents the wife as an agent in a real estate transaction. Later, she diverts funds from the sale to an account on which she is also a signator. Legal issues that are pivotal in addressing such cases of financial exploitation include the following: the need to freeze assets immediately (either through a temporary restraining order {TRO} or through written instruction to financial institutions); the admissibility of certain victim statements when the victim is deceased; conflicts of interest occurring when an agent represents more than one individual; and the need for tracing the victim's funds, particularly by employing a forensic C.P.A.

National Association of Adult Protective Services Administrators (NAAPSA), for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
Report on State Adult Protective Services Response to Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults 2003
In preparation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study on financial exploitation of vulnerable adults, the National Association of Adult Protective Services Administrators (NAAPSA) conducted a survey in 2001 of all states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, regarding their response to financial abuse cases. Thirty-four states and Guam responded to the mailed questionnaire, 23 using data from the most recent fiscal year, and 8 from the most recent calendar year. Of the results, 28 states had a combined 38,015 reports of financial exploitation; 29 states had mandatory reporting laws for financial exploitation; 11 states included financial institutions as mandatory reporters. Of the states able to describe sources of reports, only 54 of 18,476 reports were made by banks. Fifty-eight per cent of the victims were female, and 64.7 per cent were aged 66 and older, with approximately 40 per cent of reports made on people between ages 65 and 80. While some states reported that victims appeared of higher income levels than the average APS client, others saw no difference in income level. And, while 24 states have multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to address financial abuse, only 14.3 per cent of these have bank representatives as members on state teams. Only ten states had a registry of financial abusers, and only Oregon was able to estimate the value of loss for the year (totaling between $50,000 and $100,000 for 47 substantiated cases). A significant problem in evaluating the data for this survey, as well as in measuring program effectiveness, is the absence of consistent (or uniform) data tracking across state APS departments. Recommendations that were generated in order to better serve these clients include the need for NAAPSA to lead such national initiatives as public awareness campaigns, recognition of best practices, advocacy for APS, development of a national database of perpetrators, increased cross training of APS professionals, willingness to prosecute crimes involving smaller losses, and greater referral of APS financial abuse cases for prosecution. The report includes a copy of the survey along with descriptions of each participant's response. (Note: This report is available online at the National Center on Elder Abuse web site at

Nerenberg, L., for the Institute on Aging (formerly the Goldman Institute on Aging), for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
Daily Money Management Programs - A Protection Against Elder Abuse
National Center on Elder Abuse, Washington, D.C.; June 2003
Individuals who are unable to manage personal finances are at risk for financial exploitation, undue influence and financial abuse by predators as well as unscrupulous acquaintances, friends and family members. This manual describes Daily Money Management (DMM) programs, which are designed as a preventative measure for elders who are unable to manage their finances. Despite their effectiveness, there are few DMMs. Programs are offered by both public and private, non-profit and for profit agencies, and routine services such as bill paying, banking, and check writing, as well as more complex services such as negotiating with creditors and maintaining home payroll records for home employees are performed. Services are provided by a variety of volunteers and professionals, including accountants, bookkeepers, social workers, private fiduciaries, nurses, etc. Programs vary widely in their scope of services; for example, some offer guardianship of estate. One concern regarding the for-profit DMMs is that the field is largely unregulated. The publication includes a list of indicators for assessing whether an elder is a good candidate for DMM services. Risk management strategies are described and include periodic monitoring of bank statements, having clients sign service agreements, and professional consultation (with attorneys, auditors, etc.) Insurance issues are also described and include general liability insurance, malpractice insurance and bonding. Deterrents to providing DMM services are explored, and include issues regarding consent, the complexities of client needs, client resistance, and ethical and cultural considerations. The manual concludes with list of best practices recommendations and a highlighting of model programs and resources (including the AARP Money Management Program; Delaware's Financial Management Program; Jewish Family and Children's Services in San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties; Massachusetts Money Management Program; and Western Montana Chapter for the Prevention of Elder Abuse). (Note: This manual is available online through the NCEA web site at

Johnson, K., for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
Financial Crimes Against the Elderly (Problem-Oriented Guides for Police - Problem-Specific Guides Series No. 20)
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS); 2003
Part of the series of Problem Specific Guides for the police, this publication provides a comprehensive overview of financial elder abuse and guidelines for customizing a law enforcement approach to address the problem on a local level. The topic of financial exploitation is broadly divided into those acts committed by strangers (including schemes such as consumer fraud, lottery and pyramid scams, telemarketing and mail fraud, predatory lending practices, home improvement fraud, medical fraud, and confidence games) and those committed by friends family, and caregivers (including theft, borrowing without permission, misappropriating funds, mishandling funds, refusal to use the elder's funds for necessary care) by means of coercion, intimidation, undue influence, deception and/or emotional abuse. Factors that contribute to financial crimes, including victim vulnerabilities, are also discussed. The greatest predictor of future victimization is previous victimization. Understanding the victim's mental capacity and the issue of consent are vital in terms of investigation. In describing perpetrator characteristics, the "boiler-room" mobility structure of telemarketing fraud is highlighted, including the practice of referring customers for specialized sales pitches depending upon their level of resistance or receptivity. In order to tailor the response to financial elder abuse in a given community, law enforcement needs to analyze the current types of abuse occurring, and will need to develop multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary efforts. The guideline includes a detailed list of questions that responders should ask when assessing the crime(s), including questions regarding those who avoided victimization. Pre- and post-intervention measurements are needed in order to determine the effectiveness of the implemented response, and quantifiable recommendations are provided. A number of response strategies are suggested, including multi-agency task forces, improved reporting mechanisms, police training for interviews of the elderly, public awareness and education and reversing the "boiler room" by publicizing information about known scams. The publication also identifies strategies that have proven ineffective, such as "stand alone" information dissemination, mandatory reporting legislation, bonding telemarketers, and increasing sentences in existing legislation. (Note: This publication is available online at

Smith, R.
Misuse of Older Persons' Assets by Professionals - Paper presented at the Australian Institute of Family Studies' "Steps Forward for Families: Research, Practice and Policy Conference"
February 12, 2003
This paper examines risk factors for financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly by professionals. It also explores the complications of attempting recovery of lost assets. While current statistics (from the Australian Crime Victims Survey 2000) indicate that those over 65 are half as likely as younger people to experience consumer fraud, there are certain trends that imply that elders may become increasingly vulnerable. These trends include greater contact with health care and financial professionals, increasing value of assets, increasing reliance upon professional, legally appointed agents, and increasing computer usage. The five systems of redress are conciliation, civil action, disciplinary action, and criminal action. Various law enforcement led initiatives (such as Canada's PhoneBusters and the U.S. Triad and SALT councils) are highlighted as prevention outreach programs. (

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging
Hearing entitled: Guardianship Over the Elderly: Security Provided or Freedoms Denied?
February 11, 2003
Testimony provided at this hearing addressed the need for oversight of the guardianship process and alternative interventions. Issues concerning health directives and financial concerns were explored. Witnesses included Jane Pollack, niece of Mollie Oshansky, the famous economist who became the center of a controversial guardianship case; Diane Armstrong, who has written extensively about financial motives in obtaining guardianship; and Penelope Hommel of the Center for Social Gerontology. (Note: This transcript may be accessed online at

Dessin, C.
Financial Abuse of the Elderly: Is the Solution a Problem?
McGeorge Law Review; Vol. 34; Winter 2003
This article provides a comprehensive discussion and examples of the "often vague" definition of financial abuse in existing state legislation. Statutes are often vague in order to allow for flexibility in addressing financial exploitation, but this also weakens effectiveness in terms of prosecution. Many laws presume that an abusive act benefits the perpetrator and involves lack of consent. The simplistic assumption that one's assets should always be retained for one's own benefit is considered as it negates the autonomy of many elders who, out of a sense of duty or generosity, may wish to give to others. The complexities of identifying exploitation involving incompetent individuals and the difficulty of monitoring guardianship issues are also examined. The benefits and weaknesses of voluntary arrangements, such as powers of attorney and trusts are considered. The author argues that legally defining financial abuse and exploitation in terms of age is an example of "new ageism." She proposes an alternative that is without "ageist stereotyping." (Note: This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis subscription services.)

Hughes, S. of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, for the National Center on Elder Abuse
Can Bank Tellers Tell? - Legal Issues Relating to Banks Reporting Financial Abuse of the Elderly
As quoted from the paper: "...Banks have the potential of be the 'first line of defense' against financial abuse by identifying the abuse at its outset, before the elder's assets have been dissipated..." This report provides an overview of the impact that the banking industry can have in stemming financial elder abuse, and it explores the legal issues surrounding the roles of bankers as both mandatory and voluntary reporters. Variations in state legislation are presented, and federal laws that provide guidance concerning the liability of banks as reporters, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of the Federal Bank Privacy Law, are discussed. The history of the collaborative bank reporting projects which involve input and training from Adult Protective Services (APS) professionals, beginning with the Massachusetts Bank Reporting project, and the experiences of various state efforts to encourage or mandate reporting are also examined. The paper also compares the experiences of states which define bankers as mandatory reporters with those that do not. Among the conclusions, bank reporting projects have proven effective in increasing reporting of financial abuse in both mandatory and voluntary states, and although the presence of mandatory reporting laws alone do not increase reporting, they appear to facilitate the development of statewide bank reporting initiatives. (Note: this paper is available online at the NCEA web site at

Hughes, S. of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, for the National Center on Elder Abuse
Legal Issues Related to Bank Reporting of Suspected Elder Abuse
This paper is an abridged version of "Can Bank Tellers Tell? - Legal Issues Relating to Banks Reporting Financial Abuse of the Elderly." It provides an overview of the federal and state legal issues that surround the role of bank employees as reporters (mandatory or voluntary) of suspected financial abuse of the elderly. Adult Protective Services (APS) professionals and elder rights advocates will find this information helpful when meeting resistance from the banking industry to the development of bank reporting projects. (Note: This paper is available online at the NCEA web site at

Greenspan, A. et al.
Federal Regulatory Agencies' Opinion Letter About Michigan's Bank Reporting Procedures
July 2003
In this letter, federal regulatory agencies governing financial issues respond to questions regarding the federal liability of reporting suspected elder financial abuse in Michigan to the Michigan Family Independence Agency (FIA). In conclusion, the regulators indicate that after reviewing the protocols in place, the reporters would be excluded from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) act privacy rules. (Note: This letter is available online at the NCEA web site at

North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)
"Top 10 Investment Scams" List Released by State Securities
January 2004
This article describes the top ten frauds and scams of the past year. The list includes unlicensed individuals selling securities, payphone and ATM sales, internet fraud, Ponzi/pyramid schemes and viatical settlements. (Note: this article is available online at

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NJCRS)
F.A.S.T. (Financial Abuse Specialist Team) Video
This video describes the Santa Clara County's Department of Aging and Adult Services Financial Abuse Specialist Team (F.A.S.T.). Information regarding elder financial abuse and fraud is provided. This is a model program that may be adapted for use in other communities. (Note: This video may be ordered online, at no charge, through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at Item ID: NCJ198153)

Walters, N., for the AARP Public Policy Institute Consumer Team
The Fair Credit Reporting Act: Issues and Policy Options
Public Policy Institute of the AARP, Washington, D.C. 20049
AARP PPI Issue Brief No. 58; January 2003
This report, prepared for the AARP Public Policy Institute, describes the function and limitations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and how it could be strengthened to provide greater consumer protection. The use of the credit report is increasing and becoming greater in scope, yet a 2000 survey indicates that more than half of all reports contain inaccuracies. Older adults may be more susceptible to identity theft if relatives or others have access to their vital personal information. Policy options discussed include strengthening the security standards for those creditors purchasing reports, allowing consumers to place a security freeze on credit reports, and requiring consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to provide the consumer with a free annual report so that they may become aware of inaccuracies or fraudulent activities. (Note: This issue brief is available online at

Eggert, K.
Symposia: Lashed to the Mast and Crying for Help: How Self-Limitation of Autonomy Can Protect Elders From Predatory Lending
Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review; Vol. 36; Winter 2003
The purpose of this article is to address the dilemma of preserving the autonomy of elders while protecting them from financial abuse and fraud, including predatory lending practices. The author proposes that seniors record an instrument called the Elder Home Equity Loan Instrument (or the Elder HELP Instrument) which would allow homeowners to have loans reformed that have excessive fees or interest rates. Other models of self-limitation are also discussed. (Note: This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis subscription service.)

Finberg, J.
Symposia: Financial Abuse of the Elderly in California
Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review; Vol. 36; Winter 2003
This article provides an overview of the most common types of elder financial abuse perpetrated in California. It also describes the state legislation that addresses such abuses. Annuity scams, living trust scams, sweepstakes and volume sale scams (such as the Canadian Lottery and Nigerian Money Scams) identity theft, unfair and misleading funeral and burial practices, and predatory lending are among the topics highlighted.

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging
Schemers, Scammers and Sweetheart Deals: Financial Predators of the Elderly
Washington, D.C.; May 20, 2002
This is a transcript of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing entitled "Schemers, Scammers and Sweetheart Deals." Testimonies were heard from professionals, such as prosecutors and detectives, as well as victims, regarding their direct experiences with con artists and the difficulties they face in prosecuting these offenses. Detective Reyes describes the F.A.S.T. team of Los Angeles that he co-founded. (The transcript for this hearing can be accessed online at

Blum, B. & Feledy, T.
Undue Influence Worksheets for Police, APS, and Probate Investigators
Bennett Blum, M.D. and Tom Feledy, M.B.A., Park Dietz & Associates, Newport Beach, CA; 2002
The Undue Influence Worksheet is based upon the IDEAL Model for analyzing potential undue influence in financial cases. Evidence of undue influence requires a listing of all pertinent events occurring between the victim and perpetrator. This packet contains an overview of financial abuse or exploitation, an overview of the IDEAL Model (Isolation, Dependence upon the perpetrator, Emotional Manipulation or Exploitation of Vulnerability, Acquiescence and Loss), the Events List Form, The Events Details Form, along with examples of the completed forms. (Note: This packet may be obtained by contacting Dr. Bennett Blum, Director - Forensic Geropsychiatry, c/o Park Dietz & Associates, Newport Beach, CA, 949-760-0422.)

Beaulieu, M. & Spencer, C., for the Law Commission of Canada
Older Adults' Personal Relationships and the Law in Canada - Legal, Psycho-Social and Ethical Aspects
The Law Commission of Canada; updated 2002
This report "...provides an analysis and critical reflection of the relationships between Canadian law and older adults' personal relationships..." It addresses differences between the social science and legal concepts of such relationships. Divided into 8 chapters, the report covers such topics as healthy aging, relationships with spouses, family and friends as well as relationships with the community and institutions. Factors affecting such relationships include economic influences. Chapter III addresses the development and parameters of Elder Law in Canada, while Chapter IV focuses on Canadian social values and how they impact upon older adults. Chapter V and VI examine how older individuals interact with the legal system in terms of contract law, wills and estate planning, criminal law, family law, adult protection, guardianship, health law and substitute decision making. Three cases are presented that exemplify some of the intracies of addressing older Canadians personal relationships: Kim v. DeCamillis, R. v. McCune, and Sawatzky v. Riverview Health Centre. Ethical concerns, elder abuse, undue influence, advocacy, and neglect are among the many aspects raised in discussions regarding these cases. (Note: This report is available only online at

Quinn, M.
Undue Influence and Elder Abuse: Recognition and Intervention Strategies
Geriatric Nursing; Vol. 23 (1), 11-17; January/February 2002
In this continuing education article, designed for nurses, the author defines undue influence and the components of psychological abuse that often accompany it. In addition to outlining Singer's six factors related to undue influence, the article uses case situations to illustrate various scenarios including both family manipulators and non-family manipulators. A table of indicators of undue influence is included. (Note: The article also includes a continuing education test with instructions for 1 nursing CE credit.)

Malks, B., Schmidt, C. & Austin, M.
Elder Abuse Prevention: A Case Study of the Santa Clara County Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) Program
Journal of Gerontological Social Work; Vol. 39 (3), 23-40; 2002
After providing an overview of the little that is known about financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly, this article presents a description of the Santa Clara County Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) Program. The FAST Team is composed of representatives from Adult Protective Services (APS), the Public Administrator/Guardian's Office, County Counsel, the District Attorney's office and the Department of Adult and Aging services. Since 1999, this multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary model program has been addressing referrals of suspected abuse. The article describes the process in which the referral is addressed, including those that warrant an emergency response in order to protect assets. Cases warranting legal intervention are transferred to the District Attorney's office for further investigation and possible prosecution. The benefits of the rapid response team and the criticisms of the process (which include those that claim it promotes loss of autonomy) are discussed, along with lessons learned since the program's inception.

Frolik, L.
The Developing Field of Elder Law Redux: Ten Years After
Elder Law Journal; Vol. 10; 2002
This essay provides an overview of the development of elder law as a legal specialty during the past decade. What was initially seen as Medicaid planning has evolved to address the complexities of estate planning for an ever growing population of elders, along with medical and end of life-decision making, nursing home and medical negligence issues, guardianship, elder abuse and age discrimination. Two points made in the discussion include the lack of academic support for this expanding specialty area, and the development of multidisciplinary practices that seek to holistically address the needs of elder law clients. (Note: This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis subscription services.)

Brisk, W. & Flynn, J.
Combatting Attorneys Who Abet Financial Abuse of the Elderly (Advocacy and Litigation SIG Column)
NAELA News (National Association of Elder Law Attorneys); 5-6; November/December 2002
This article describes the necessity of scrupulous and ethical adherence to the Code of Professional Responsibility when lawyers (particularly elder law attorneys) are transferring property. In particular, the lawyer must communicate directly with the client and determine that he or she is not acting under undue influence. Failure to do this would result in financial abuse or exploitation.

Longan, P.
Middle-class Lawyering in the Age of Alzheimer's: the Lawyer's Duties in Representing a Fiduciary
Fordham Law Review; p901; December 2001
This article explores the legal intricacies of addressing potential financial abuse by guardians of elderly, incapacitated wards. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the Restatement of the law Governing Lawyers are considered as they relate to the ethical conflicts of maintaining client confidentiality while preventing irresponsible, fraudulent or criminal actions. Both the vulnerability of the ward and the susceptibility of the guardian to commit such acts are discussed. A spectrum of professional options is outlined and includes counseling without the right to disclose as the least intrusive, and a duty to discover as the most extreme. Also presented are the more moderate, but perhaps more effective interventions of optional and mandatory disclosure. (Note: This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis.)

Greenwood, P.
Prosecuting Financial Abuse: A Tool Kit
November 8, 2001
This packet provides a guideline for prosecuting financial abuse, which was presented at an Adult Protective Services Conference in San Antonio, Texas, November 8, 2001. The "tool kit" is a quick reference, power point outline of the key steps and concepts used by the presenter, Paul Greenwood, Deputy District Attorney, San Diego, California.

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging
Saving Our Seniors: Preventing Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
Serial No. 107-8; June 14, 2001
This is a transcript of a hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, held on June 14, 2001. Participants included Sara Aravanis, Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Joanne Hopper, Paul Greenwood, and Ricker Hamilton. Statements were also provided by the National Indian Council on Aging, the American Bar Association and testimony by the Social Services Block Grant Coalition. This report can be accessed, free of charge, at the following web address: or ordered by contacting the GPO Order Desk at Toll-Free: 1-(866) 512-1800 or, in Washington, D.C., telephone (202) 512-1800.

Moskowitz, S.
Upper-level Courses: On Golden Pond: Integrating Legal Issues of the Elderly into Family Law
Stetson Law Review; Vol. 30, 1427; Spring 2001
Noting that law school curricula are not reflective of the needs of the aging American population, this attorney explores areas of family law that could be enhanced to better serve elders. Issues surrounding marriage, multi-generational families, intra-family support obligations, elder abuse and ethics are addressed. Among other points, the author emphasizes the need to properly identify the client when an elder is brought to an attorney for assistance with financial planning by a friend or family member. (Note: This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe.)

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Our Aging Population: Promoting Empowerment, Preventing Victimization, and Implementing Coordinated Interventions - Symposium Report of the Proceedings
December 2000
This online publication contains the proceedings of a symposium co-sponsored by the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Social Services in October, 2000. The symposium focused on three topics: financial abuse and consumer fraud, elder abuse and neglect in the home, and institutional abuse and neglect. Each topic was the focus of a plenary session and a number of workshops were presented focusing on promising programs and interventions developed throughout the country. In the closing session, Attorney General Janet Reno identified the following three priorities to address elder victimization: prevention, interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary collaborations, and prosecution. The publication also includes program descriptions of those presented, including the South Carolina Vulnerable Adult Medical Protocol, the Texas Elder Abuse Mistreatment (TEAM) Team, the Maricopa Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance, Los Angeles County Fiduciary Abuse Specialist Team (FAST), and many others. It also includes the recommendations made by the Tribal Caucus, with emphasis upon the need for coordination between the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and state and local law enforcement agencies operating within Indian Country. (Note: This publication is available online at

Saunders, M., Renuart, E., of the National Consumer Law Center, with Hermanson, S., for the AARP Public Policy Institute Consumer Team
Home Improvement Financing: A Model State Law
October 2000
The Home Improvement Financing Model Act was developed to address the predatory lending practices that occur when contractors either directly lend or arrange for the financing of home improvement projects. Older homeowners are more often targeted by fraudulent home improvement contractors, in part because they are less likely to attempt home repair projects themselves, more likely to have older homes in need of repair, and more likely to have financial assets. Predatory lending practices occur when the contractor obtains loans at excessively high rates, or receives the loan directly without providing services, for which the homeowner is still liable. Among other features, the Act provides that the lender bear the cost of incomplete or inadequately completed repairs as a strong incentive to ensure that the contractor fulfills his/her obligations. It also provides consumers with a right to civil action along with the possibility of criminal prosecution for intentional violations. Volume I presents the model law; Volume II presents summaries of existing state laws, Alabama through Michigan; Volume III presents summaries of existing state laws Minnesota through Wyoming.

Quinn, M.
Undoing Undue Influence
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect; Vol. 12 (2), 9-17; 2000
The article provides an overview of the dynamics of undue influence. Victims and perpetrators of undue influence are profiled, and several scenarios are used to illustrate prevention and intervention strategies.

Sklar, J.
Elder and Dependent Adult Fraud: A Sampler of Actual Cases to Profile the Offenders and the Crimes They Perpetrate
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect; Vol. 12 (2), 19-32; 2000
This article discusses elder and dependent adult fraud, and profiles four offender groups: (1) adult children, grandchildren, or other relatives; (2) professional or hired caretakers; (3) friends or others in trusted positions; (4) professional crime groups that target elders and dependent adults. Summaries of actual cases prosecuted by the Santa Clara District Attorney's office are used to illustrate these types of crimes. The article also touches upon preventative tips and investigative tools employed in dealing with fraud.

Abramson, B.
Ethical Considerations in Elder Law Cases
Wisconsin Lawyer; Vol. 73 (9); September 2000
This article presents five legal scenarios that highlight the "4 C's" of Ethics in Elder Law: client identification, conflicts of interest, communications, and competency. In addition to addressing fiduciary issues, there are guidelines as to how the attorney may assist clients in danger of physical abuse. (Note: This article is available online only at

Hughes, M.
Remedying Abuse by Finance Agents
Wisconsin Lawyer; Vol. 73 (9); September 2000
This article describes a number of legal remedies that may be used in pursuing an agent under a Power of Attorney who has financially abused his/her Principal. Remedies presented include: a review of the Agent's performance; steps to revoke the Power of Attorney document; a Constructive Trust; an action for accounting; eviction; surcharge against the Agent; and theft loss as a federal income tax deduction. (Note: This article is available online only at

Henningsen, E.
Preventing Financial Abuse by Agents Under Powers of Attorney
Wisconsin Lawyer; Vol. 73 (9); September 2000
This article recommends that attorneys reduce the risk of financial abuse by Powers of Attorneys by: (1) drafting documents that clearly explain the limits to the Agent's authority; (2) educating the Agent about financial responsibilities and limitations; (3) including "oversight" provisions into the document to increase the chances of discovering financial abuse; (4) including documentation and testimonial evidence to prove that the Agent is aware of limits to his/her authority. (Note: This article is available online only at

Pennant, L.
Unresolved Grief: A Risk Factor for Abuse and Neglect in Old Age
Generations; 70-74; Summer 2000
Using the case study of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the author demonstrates how emotional vulnerability, particularly unresolved grief, may be exploited by unscrupulous service providers. The narrative describes how a psychotherapist exerted undue influence in order to benefit financially and procure employment for friends at the expense of this disabled celebrity and her family. Practical recommendations to prevent such manipulation are outlined. (This article is part of a special edition of Generations dedicated to the recognition of the problem of elder abuse.)

Thilges, A.
Comment: Abuse of a Power of Attorney: Who is More Likely To Be Punished, the Elder or the Abuser?
The Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; Vol.16, p579; 2000
This article discusses how states statutes are addressing financial exploitation of elders through misuse of power of attorney rights. Misuse of power of attorney is classified alternately as theft, elder abuse, embezzlement and exploitation (specifically) in various states, and implied in other state legislation. The article details laws from Arizona, Utah, Montana, Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Georgia, Minnesota, South Dakota, Indiana and Delaware. (This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis subscription services.)

Dessin, C.
Financial Abuse of the Elderly
Idaho Law Review; Vol. 36 p203; 2000
As financial abuse of the elderly appears to be a growing phenomenon, this article seeks to outline types of financial abuse and examine possible remedies and preventions. Theft, fraud and scams, intentional misuse of an elder's assets by a fiduciary or caregiver, and negligence are four broad categories identified. A case example is provided to illustrate the difficulties in determining if financial abuse has occurred, and if so, how it should be categorized. The subtleties of financial abuse, compounded by the rights to privacy and autonomy, create difficulties in detection of abuse by guardian, power of attorney or caregiver. Remedies include civil and criminal penalties, protective orders, but will also require further definition and training, as well as funding and education for the state offices charged with the responsibility of addressing financial abuse of the elderly. (This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis subscription services.)

Dessin, C.
The Impaired Matrimonial Client: Financial Exploitation Statutes' Impact on Domestic Relations Practice
Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; Vol. 16 p379; 2000
This article examines, state by state, those statutes addressing exploitation and financial abuse of the elderly, and the impact that this has on matrimonial law practice. The discussion centers on definitions and categorization of the offenses, and the mandatory reporting requirements (if applicable) with noted exceptions. (This article is available electronically through Lexis-Nexis subscription services.)

Wasik, J.
The Fleecing of America's Elderly
Consumers Digest; p77-p83; March/April 2000
This article provides an overview of financial exploitation of America's elderly. With those aged 50 and older controlling at least 70 per cent of the country's household income, elders, particularly those who are housebound and/or impaired, are often targeted. Professionals agree that most cases of financial abuse remain unreported, and that most of the perpetrators are family members or in-home caregivers often misusing power of attorney and manipulating elders with undue influence. This discussion examines reasons for underreporting, as well as examples of effective prevention and intervention models such as the interdisciplinary Elder Person's Estate Unit in Los Angeles.

Hyman, J.A.
Self-Financing Long-Term Care: The Elder Law Attorney as Investment Counselor
The ElderLaw Report; Vol. XI (8), 1-5; March 2000
In this article, the author points out that the elder law attorney is performing many functions of financial planning and should be able to assist the elderly client in understanding self-financing alternatives to the Medicaid process for long-term care planning.

Wilson, L.
Financial Exploitation in Oregon's Senior and Disabled Population (1991-1998)
Thesis/Exit Project, Dept. of Planning, Public Policy and Management and the Graduate School of the University of Oregon; March 2000
As quoted from the abstract: "This study is a review of characteristics of both alleged victim and alleged perpetrator to create a baseline profile for future studies. Data includes 3,034 financial exploitation cases and characteristic information for 2,508 seniors in a community setting and 355 persons with a disability receiving services through Oregon's Senior and Disabled Services Division. This study is unlike previous studies that focus attention between genders; it focuses on men and women as individual populations and found senior women more likely to be victims of financial exploitation."

Barron, T.
Financial Exploitation of the Infirm Elderly: A Delaware Perspective
Delaware Lawyer; Vol. 18 (1), 12-20; Spring 2000
This article discusses Delaware's approach to financial abuse of the infirm elderly. The various topics discussed include legislative initiatives taken by the state of Delaware, the role of Adult Protective Services in financial abuse cases, the profiles of both the perpetrator and the victim as generally seen in the court room, as well as future initiatives that need to be taken to aid in the prosecution of the perpetrator.

Walsh, K. & Bennett, G.
Financial Abuse of Older People
Journal of Adult Protection; Vol. 2 (1), 21-29; February 2000
This article presents an overview of financial abuse of elders. In addition to offering guidelines to distinguish between "reasonable exchanges" and misappropriation, potential indicators related to abusers and victims are listed. Prevention tips from the British Geriatric Society are included. Complexities of financial issues surrounding long-term care placement and recommendations by the Royal Commission on Long Term Care (1999) are also discussed.

Choi, N. & Mayer, J.
Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation: Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies
Journal of Gerontological Social Work; Vol. 33 (2), 5-25; 2000
As quoted from the abstract: "Along with health care professionals, social workers are the professionals most likely to be responsible for detecting signs of elder maltreatment and providing interventions and preventive services. In this study, using data from a county adult protective services unit, we discuss the complex nature of domestic elder maltreatment, identify risk factors for different types of maltreatment, and recommend prevention strategies. Specifically, we compare self-neglecting elders and those abused and/or neglected by others. Of the latter, we further compare risk factors for physical and emotional/psychological abuse and/or neglect with risk factors for financial exploitation only. The risk factors analyzed include elders' gender, age, living arrangement, acute or chronic health conditions, mental health status, cognitive deficits, size of social support, and alcohol abuse. As preventive strategies, we discuss case-management services, caregiver support services, and alcohol/substance abuse screening and treatment." Among the findings, elders who abused substances were more likely to be self-neglecting; cognitive deficits, inability to manage finances and home ownership were risk factors for financial abuse, which was more often perpetrated by strangers; and elders with greater physical health problems were more vulnerable to abuse and neglect by others.

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Replicating the Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project - A Guide for Other States
Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; 1997
As quoted from the manual: "The Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project is the first statewide public/private partnership to prevent elder financial exploitation. The project educates bank employees to recognize financial exploitation and other types of abuse, and report them to the appropriate authority..." This guide is meant to be used by other states and adult protective services wanting to model this program. {To request a copy or for more information contact The Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Boston, MA 02108, Phone (617) 222-7484.}

Fox, C., Price, G., Scheft, J. & Irving, B.
The Bank Reporting Project - An Edge Against Elder Financial Exploitation - Employee Training Manual (Massachusetts)
Commonwealth of Massachusetts; First Edition, 1995
This manual is a quick reference guide developed especially for employees of participating banks. It describes common situations, gives information on recognizing the symptoms of exploitation, and outlines the appropriate response of the employee in suspicious circumstances. {To request a copy or for more information contact The Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Boston, MA 02108, Phone (617) 222-7484.}

Fox, C., Price, G., Scheft, J. & Irving, B.
The Bank Reporting Project - An Edge Against Elder Financial Abuse - Trainer Reference Manual (Massachusetts)
Commonwealth of Massachusetts; First Edition, 1995
This manual, developed with the expertise of many professionals in both public and private sectors, is a comprehensive reference tool for financial institutions training personnel to identify and report elder financial exploitation. It addresses many questions and issues relating to the financial exploitation of older customers. {To request a copy or for more information contact The Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Boston, MA 02108, Phone (617) 222-7484.}

National Center on Elder Abuse
1201 15th Street, N.W., Suite 350 · Washington, DC 20005-2842
(202) 898-2586 · Fax: (202) 898-2583 · Email: [email protected]