Scammers target elderly people across the country and Tarrant County is no exception. A recent report noted how men offering to make repairs for older people stole their money.
The Star-Telegram reported how an 87-year-old widow from Richland Hills became a victim. Lois McCubbin reportedly trusted men who offered to repair her front door for a reasonable price.
She did not realize that while one man took her to a back room to conduct an inspection, the other searched her residence, stole a credit card and her husband’s wedding ring.
The thieves ran up $1,500 in charges on the credit card and sold the ring for $85.
The crime was not an isolated incident. Typically, older people were victims.
In 2017, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office set up an elder financial fraud unit dedicated to investigating and prosecuting this white-collar crime.
Over the course of seven months, the team handled more than 120 cases. It led to 50 indictments and discovered $260,000 in lost cash, reported the Star-Telegram.
Lori Varnell, a former federal prosecutor who heads up the unit with another attorney and two investigators said the problem of scammers targeting elderly people in Tarrant County is an epidemic.
Just four months after he set up the unit, Varnell created a Financial Exploitation Prevention Center.
It brings together the efforts of the district attorney’s office and local and state agencies to give services and help to elderly and disabled crime victims.
There are many ways in which scammers target elderly people. Tarrant County defines elder financial fraud as the illegal or improper use of a senior’s funds or property.
The crime may be committed by someone they know or a stranger. As the Baby Boomer generation becomes older and more fragile, record numbers of senior Americans provide prey for the scammers.
The U.S. Justice Department states one in 20 older adults experience financial exploitation every year. However, a reluctance to report the problem means only 1 in 44 incidents of elder financial abuse is reported to authorities.
The zealous approach of prosecutors to this crime in Tarrant County may lead to innocent people being accused of defrauding elderly people. The Medlin Law Firm represents people charged with serious white collar crimes in Texas. Please call us today for a free consultation about your case .