Skip to main content
Press Release

North Dakota US Attorney’s Office Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Dakota

Information and vigilance remain key elements to preventing elder abuse.

BISMARCK:Mac Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota, joined national, state, local, and Tribal leaders today in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Since 2006, WEAAD has been commemorated to promote awareness and increases understanding of the many forms of elder abuse as well as the resources available to those at risk.

     Highlighting the partnership between law enforcement and the public, U.S. Attorney Schneider emphasizes the importance of awareness and education. The District of North Dakota partners with North Dakota Health and Human Services Adult Protective Services, and with our local, state, federal and Tribal law enforcement partners to proactively identify possible victims of abuse, fraudulent financial scams, or other family and/or non-family financial exploitation of someone who might be a vulnerable adult.

     “Criminals who target seniors aren’t just taking money, they’re often stealing the fruits of a lifetime of hard work,” Schneider said. “Whether it is a family member engaged in elder abuse or an overseas schemer, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota is committed to prosecuting those who prey on senior citizens. Outside of the courtroom, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to educate North Dakotans on how to avoid being caught in a scam and protect their assets.”

     “North Dakota Health and Human Services Adult Protective Services (APS) is dedicated to addressing the safety of vulnerable adults who are at-risk of harm due to the presence or threat of abuse, neglect or exploitation,” HHS Adult and Aging Services Assistant Director Michelle Gayette said. “We are grateful for our partners in law enforcement and multidisciplinary teams who help us address reported concerns. Information on how to file a report can be found at If someone is in immediate danger, contact law enforcement first before making a report to Adult Protective Services.”

     Elder abuse is an act that knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Such harm may be financial, physical, sexual, or psychological. The Justice Department maintains a variety of programs and initiatives to combat elder abuse.

     The Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force marshals federal and state agencies working collaboratively to investigate and prosecute foreign-based schemes that target older Americans. In addition to aggressively investigating the individuals, organizations, and networks responsible for these crimes, this initiative provides the public with information to guard against both traditional scams, like tech support fraud, as well as trending schemes, such as romance scams.

     Using one scam to perpetrate or conceal another, some fraudsters rely on money mules to move the proceeds of their illegal activity. Preying on the good will or financial vulnerability of their targets, scammers recruit people, many times older victims, to participate in schemes to move money in ways that avoid notice. The Money Mule Initiative identifies and addresses money mule activity to disrupt these fraud schemes, and helps people to recognize and avoid participation in perpetuating fraud.

     To help older individuals and their families identify and avoid fraudulent activity, the Justice Department provides Senior Scam Alerts with information about the tactics used in specific schemes. For example, in Social Security Administration Impostor schemes, scammers impersonate government administrators and falsely reporting suspicious activity to request that the victims provide their Social Security number for confirmation. In Tech Support scams, fraudsters contact victims, sometimes through internet pop-up messages, to warn about non-existent computer problems, ask that the victim give them remote access to their computer, and identify a non-existent problem, then demand large sums of money for unnecessary services. In Lottery scams, telemarketers falsely notify victims that they have won a sweepstakes and tell them they must first pay fees for shipping, insurance, customs duties, or taxes before they can claim their prizes.

     To learn more about the department’s elder justice efforts please visit the Elder Justice Initiative page.

     The District of North Dakota continues to work with federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners, and North Dakota Health and Human Services Adult Protective Services to investigate and prosecute elder abuse crimes. A recent prosecution of a Woman who was Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing $134,000 from Her Elderly Mother-in-law and Father-in-law can be seen here.

     To report elder fraud, contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 or 1-833-372-8311 and visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center at 

# # #


Terry W. Van Horn  701-297-7400

Updated June 14, 2024

Elder Justice