Prim Escalona, who replaced disgraced Trump appointee Jay Town as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and is being retained by the Biden Administration, has issued a statement indicating she is serious about tackling elder abuse -- a problem perhaps best personified in Alabama by the case of the late Golden Flake heiress Joann Bashinsky. From a Department of Justice press release dated 6/15/21.
Today, U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day provides an opportunity for the Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama to raise awareness of the abuse, fraud, neglect, and schemes committed against the elderly.
“Our seniors are vital members of our community. Unfortunately, they are often among the most vulnerable,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “Prosecuting those who prey on this vulnerable community is a top priority, and we remain committed to pursuing justice for the seniors in Northern Alabama.”
Elder abuse comes in a variety of disturbing forms:
Each year June 15 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting at least 10% of older Americans every year. Elder abuse has harmful impacts at all levels of society:
- Scammers exploit the elderly population through grandparent scams, fake prizes, romance scams, fraudulent Internal Revenue Service refunds, and deliberate extortion.
- Elder abuse triples the risk of premature death and causes unnecessary illness, injury, and suffering.
- Victims of elder abuse are four times more likely to be admitted to a nursing home and three times more likely to be admitted to a hospital.
- Older adults with cognitive incapacity suffer significantly greater economic losses than those without such incapacity.
- Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
The public can help fight elder abuse, Escalona says:
"As a community, we can all raise awareness and help protect elder Americans in the Northern District of Alabama. I encourage you to visit www.elderjustice.gov and learn more about the ways you can assist in our efforts to prevent fraud, neglect, and abuse of elders. To find help or report abuse visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/find-support-elder-abuse."
The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2020 Elder Fraud Report was posted today on https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2020_IC3ElderFraudReport.pdf. In 2020, IC3 received a total of 791,790 complaints with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion. Based on the information provided in the complaints, approximately 28% of the total fraud losses were sustained by victims over the age of 60, resulting in approximately $1 billion in losses to seniors. This represents an increase of approximately $300 million in losses reported in 2020 versus what was reported by victims over 60 in 2019. To educate the public and provide as much information on the types of frauds targeting seniors as possible, the IC3 is offering its first publication of the 2020 IC3 Elder Fraud Annual Report. This report is a companion report to the 2020 IC3 Annual Report released in March 2021.