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Press Release

SDTX recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
Information and vigilance remain key elements to preventing elder abuse

HOUSTON – June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), and the Southern District of Texas (SDTX) continues its aggressive prosecution and community relations efforts to address the issue, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Since 2006, people have commemorated WEAAD 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, Hamdani emphasized the importance of awareness, education and prosecution.

“The eldest generation includes, for many of us, our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles,” said Hamdani. “They were our teachers, coaches, mentors and bosses. And now they are too often targets of opportunistic criminals who try to advantage of their trust or their physical or mental sunset. Protecting and standing up for the most vulnerable of our citizens is why we come to work each day. That mission has particular resonance when the cases we work on involve elderly victims.”

Hamdani also provided additional information and guidance in a public service announcement.

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 SDTX continues to work with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute elder abuse crimes.

Just last month, the office charged several members of a religious-based company who allegedly took nearly the entire retirement savings of a WWII veteran in his 90s. A mother and son were also charged for purportedly tricking an elderly couple out of $1M as were romance scammers who allegedly targeted the elderly in $3M fraud. Meanwhile, recent convictions include two in McAllen in a multimillion-dollar daycare fraud scheme, while the leader of a nationwide fraud scheme targeting elderly victims is now serving a 188-month sentence and another was sentenced to the max for his role in laundering scam proceeds

The SDTX also continues its community relations efforts to promote understanding of the important issue of elder fraud.  

In April, SDTX personnel joined the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for an elder fraud prevention seminar a local church had hosted. Participants heard about common fraud scripts and tell-tale signs of a scam as well as the types of cases SDTX prosecutes, the limits of prosecution and the importance of sharing information about fraud schemes to try to prevent victimization. Several church members who had been victimized by telemarketing scams also shared their stories. Another similar seminar is expected in the future.  

In addition, on July 16, SDTX personnel will join the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for a joint presentation at another local church. Again, the focus of the presentation will be common fraud scripts and tell-tale signs of a scam as well as what to do if you or a loved one has fallen victim to a scam.

The SDTX is part of the Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force which 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 the most common schemes, like tech support fraud and 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 report 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 to “confirm” the 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.

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 

Updated June 15, 2024

Elder Justice