South Carolina Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraud Conspiracy Targeting Retirees and Military Pension Holders
Charleston, South Carolina – United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office supported a Charleston Area Senior Citizens Elder Abuse Awareness event in Charleston. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rob Sneed and Matt Austin gave a presentation to senior citizens using “Fraud Bingo” as a platform to provide tips on avoiding scams.
“Like senior citizens everywhere, South Carolina’s growing population of elderly residents is increasingly vulnerable to financial exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “As criminals get more innovative with their elder fraud schemes, we have to get more creative about how to thwart them. Fraud Bingo helps us teach seniors how to recognize scams that could have a devastating impact on their financial wellbeing and encourages them to report potential scams to the Department of Justice.”
Charleston Area Senior Citizens, Inc. (CASC) is a non-profit agency serving Charleston County that provides a wide range of programs, services, and activities that promote health, safety, socialization, and independence for adults age 60 and older in the community. This week, the Senior Companion Program (SCP), sponsored by CASC, held an Elder Abuse Awareness training for volunteers who provide individualized support and assistance to other adults with physical, mental, or emotional impairments, primarily the frail elderly. SCP is part of Senior Corps, which is under the umbrella of the Corporation for National and Community Service. SCP Program Director Berita Martin planned and executed the event.
AUSAs Sneed and Austin gave practical tips to help seniors prevent getting financially exploited. They operated a bingo-type game to teach seniors how to recognize and deal with scams. The game is played just like regular Bingo but with an added twist: Each time the Bingo game caller announces a square, participants read aloud the accompanying message found on their bingo card if they have a match. Each square has a message about fraud, identity theft, or scams. When there is a winner, shouts of “Fraud Bingo” ring out.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office was joined by several partners in its fight against elder fraud, abuse, and neglect. Dave Zoellner of Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Detective Jennie Antonio of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, and a representative from South Carolina Legal Services each provided information to help support and protect the elderly community in Charleston.
To learn more about the U.S. Attorney’s Office Elder Fraud program, visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-sc/elder-justice-initiative, or the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative website at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105