U.S. Attorney's Office Recommits To Elder Justice On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Nevada’s seniors are some of the most respected and cherished members of our communities, but also some of the most vulnerable members. Today on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reaffirms its commitment to raising awareness and combatting elder abuse and exploitation.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has a shared commitment with our partners to protect Nevada’s seniors from abuse, neglect, fraud, and exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada. “We are dedicated to prosecuting and preventing crimes targeting the elderly, educating seniors and their loved ones, and raising awareness of elder abuse and exploitation.”
Criminals prey on seniors through scams or threats to steal their savings. It is widely estimated that one in ten seniors in the United States is abused, but often that abuse takes the form of financial exploitation or fraud. Each year, an estimated $3 billion is stolen or defrauded from millions of American seniors. Through “grandparent scams,” fake prizes, romance scams, fraudulent IRS refunds, and even outright extortion, criminals try to exploit some of the most vulnerable Americans and steal their life’s savings.
The mission of the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative is to strengthen awareness about elder abuse and financial exploitation through education, build law enforcement capacity to respond to elder justice issues, and facilitate prosecution efforts to make our community safer for all. In January, AG Sessions ordered all 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices to each designate an elder justice coordinator, who will customize a strategy to protect seniors in their district. This ensures a greater cooperation between the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners. In 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted elder crimes to include:
- Daniel Martin Boyar, of Orlando, Florida, pleaded guilty to committing a $3.3 million telemarketing scam to defraud more than 1,000 victims, many of them elderly. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 24, 2018.
- Angela Fischer, a former Business Manager for a Reno retirement center in Fernley, Nevada, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for stealing more than $190,000 from an elderly resident’s bank account.
- Willie James Montgomery, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 88 months’ imprisonment for targeting the elderly as part of a $1.2 million telemarketing scam.
- Noah Patrick Fields, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for pointing a firearm at an elderly owner of a coin and jewelry store during a robbery.
In addition to the prosecution of criminals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners participate in public forums educating senior community members and concerned citizens about elder financial fraud. In 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department conducted four public forums. The forums are intended to raise awareness to the various types of fraud schemes targeting seniors and offers prevention tips on how to protect themselves.
Today, the Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture announced the forming of a working group to focus on ways to empower and to support rural and tribal communities to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation.
For more information about the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative, visit www.elderjustice.gov to learn more about the ways you can assist in preventing fraud, neglect, and abuse of elders. Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at www.ovc.gov.