World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Highlights Importance of Protecting Southern District of Iowa Seniors
DES MOINES, IA – The Department of Justice commemorated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by emphasizing its commitment to protecting elderly individuals against abuse, fraud, and neglect by advancing elder justice. Elder abuse takes many forms, including financial exploitation (abuse and fraud), caregiver neglect, and physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.1
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “The Department has a strong elder justice history that I continue to fully support. We all know an older family member or friend who has been the victim of financial fraud, either domestically or internationally, and we’ve witnessed first-hand how financial loss impacts older adults. Some older adults cut down on their prescription medications harming their health or they are unable to pay their rent and may have to move into senior subsidized housing, impacting their sense of independence. That is why the Department has devoted significant personnel and resources specifically to combat financial fraud committed against older Americans.”
To prevent and prosecute crimes against the elderly, each of the 94 U. S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide have appointed Elder Justice Coordinators assigned to prosecute crimes against elderly individuals and educate the public about elder abuses. To assist older victims in recovering from crime victimization, the Department provides Victims of Crime Act funding to states for crime victim services programming, with a significant portion of those funds assisting older victims. At the federal level, Victim Specialists serve alongside Elder Justice Coordinators in facilitating services for older victims.
“Ensuring the safety and security of elderly individuals is of the highest priority for this office,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal. “Significant efforts have been made in the Southern District of Iowa to educate seniors about harmful fraud schemes and to prosecute the perpetrators of such scams. Our office regularly meets with members of the public and employees of financial institutions to inform them about elder financial exploitation and we have had recent success in criminally prosecuting fraudsters who stole from seniors.”
In January 2022, Chelsea Lynn Gless, of Princeton, Iowa, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for mail fraud and ordered to pay over $2.9 million in restitution to victims. The majority of Gless’ 71 victims were elderly individuals. Gless was the manager and part-owner of Royal Metals Group, a business that purported to buy and sell precious metals for customers. Over a period of nearly four years, Gless made false representations to clients and instead of delivering and paying clients for precious metals, Gless misappropriated clients’ funds and precious metals.
In March 2022, Jeffrey M. Carley, of Treynor, Iowa, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $1,364,163.02 in restitution to the victims of his wire fraud scheme. Carley was a financial investment counselor. Carley encouraged his clients to move money from their traditional IRA accounts to a “self-directed” IRA. Carley then advised his clients to move their money from the “self-directed” IRA to investment opportunities Carley owned or had ownership interest in and advised clients they would receive a financial return. Carley never told his clients that he owned or had an interest in the investments he promoted. Carley also failed to invest the clients’ money and instead used the funds for his personal expenses. Nine of the eleven victims of this investment scheme were elderly. The sentencing judge noted the length of time the scheme lasted and the harm and age of the victims as some of the aggravating factors in imposing the five-year sentence.
To learn more about the Department’s elder justice efforts, please visit the Elder Justice website.
If you need assistance or to report elder abuse, please contact the Iowa Adult Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-362-2178. To report elder fraud, Iowa Adult Protective Services may be contacted, as well as the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center , or contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311.