Financial Abuse Of Elderly Targeted

Attorney General Spitzer today announced an important training program helping financial services employees identify and combat elderly exploitation.

Representatives from Spitzer's Binghamton Regional Office, in conjunction with Broome Triad and the Broome County District Attorney's Office, will provide instruction on such issues as: who commonly commits exploitation; typical scenarios that lead to financial exploitation; ways to detect financial abuse; a model protocol for action; and prevention training.

The first program will take place on September 22, 2000 with bank managers and other bank personnel of BSB Bank & Trust in its branch at 58-68 Exchange Street, Binghamton.

"Financial exploitation of the elderly violates the trust of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and my office is committed to do all that we can to reduce incidents of such abuse," said Spitzer. "To that end, I thank Broome Triad and Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen for joining with our office in presenting this training seminar. I also commend BSB Bank & Trust for welcoming the training that this session will provide."

Financial exploitation is the the fastest growing form of elderly abuse. Half of all abuse cases in New York State include financial exploitation. In New York City, the problem is even worse: 63 percent of abuse cases involve finances. These incidents include abuse of Power of Attorney, misuse of ATMs, credit cards and bank accounts, appropriation of pensions and benefit checks, and illegal property transfers. The Attorney General's office also has found that an increasing number of criminal prosecutions involve con artist scams against elders.

Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen will discuss cases that his office has handled, and what evidence of financial abuse is necessary in order to go forward with a criminal prosecution. "We need to do all that we can to identify and prosecute those who have preyed upon the elderly, and, to that end, I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General's Office, Broome Triad, and bank personnel." said Mollen.

Bernard Levy, Chair of Broome Triad: "BSB Bank & Trust is the first of many banks to be offered this training session, and we look forward to presenting it to all of the banks within Broome County."

Heather Gow, a Broome Triad member and the Coordinator of Broome County Family Violence Prevention Council: "We need to heighten everyone's awareness of who are the most vulnerable, as well as by whom they are likely to be exploited."

Nancy Kumrow who represents both the Broome Triad and Broome County Adult Protective Services: "If we are going to be successful in combating financial exploitation of the elderly, we need to know what are the telltale signs of financial abuse." Kumrow will give a presentation on the signs of financial exploitation.

Dennis C. McCabe, Assistant Attorney General In Charge of the Binghamton Regional Office, will discuss how to respond to suspected financial abuse, and present to the bank personnel a model protocol for reporting incidents of suspected financial exploitation. "Having a game plan in place for the bank personnel to follow is critically important in our efforts to combat financial exploitation," said McCabe.

Thomas J. Lamphere, Assistant Vice President for Security and Risk Management for BSB Bank and Trust: "BSB Bank & Trust cares about its customers, and anything we can do to better educate ourselves to protect our customers from financial exploitation is time well spent."

To report incidents of elderly financial exploitation and abuse, individuals are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755, the Broome County Adult Protective Services at (607) 778-2635, or the Broome County District Attorney's Office at (607) 778-2423.

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