Financial Elder Abuse: The Big Picture, Part III

Over the past couple of weeks we have taken some time to look at Financial Elder Abuse. So far we have established what it is, whom it affects, and who the typical perpetrators are.

Last week I specifically zeroed in on applicable laws, forensic accounting processes relevant in this setting, fiduciary duty versus specific intent, and the type of evidence analyzed in financial elder abuse cases at the Sacramento CalCPA luncheon.

As this series comes to an end, there is one more topic that I would like to cover: what is being done to prevent this terrible crime? Not only nationwide but specifically in our area.

FAST Teams

Financial Abuse Specialist Teams, also known as FAST, can be found throughout numerous counties in California. The first FAST team was established in Los Angeles County back in 1993. Each county’s team differs in one way or another but they all have a general goal and that is to provide expert forensic assistance in the investigation of suspected elder financial abuse cases.

FAST also works to raise public awareness and provide community education and professional training programs.  Placer County has an outstanding group of professionals that make up CAMET (Community and Multidisciplinary Elder Team), with representatives from law enforcement, law, elder care, healthcare and finance.  Their goal is to work together to “find solutions to the problem of elder abuse, and to prevent it more effectively.”

El Dorado County

Reported elder abuse in this county has increased 9 percent since 2011. The county’s population of residents 65 and older is 31.6 percent greater than the state of California’s average.

In response to these statistics, The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has added an investigator to focus specifically on elder abuse. This investigator will work closely with the District Attorney’s Office and the county’s Adult Protective Services.

Other Possibilities

What is being done in Placer County and El Dorado County are just some examples of how the state of California is trying to identify financial elder abuse. Although not every county may have an investigator to zero in on this growing concern, FAST teams may be readily available.

The use of CPA’s for forensic accounting and expert witness testimony is becoming a valuable tool, as well, to prevent, detect and report financial elder abuse.

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