A recent announcement covered by ABC News, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) made a statement while in Florida regarding their goals for preserving the safety and finances of seniors. The DOJ senior exploitation crackdown initiative has announced plans to focus the overwhelming brunt of its efforts on prosecuting international financial exploitation scams.
The DOJ senior exploitation crackdown meeting in Sun City Center, Florida, featured the announcement of over 400 individuals in 2020 who were charged with engaging in financial schemes. The DOJ called the move their largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.
In total, the DOJ senior exploitation crackdown aims to end the losses of more than $1 billion that Attorney General William Barr claims have been lost from these schemes. AG Barr has also told reporters that the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force has prosecuted more than a quarter of those charged.
AG Barr told attendees at the DOJ senior exploitation crackdown meeting that “victims should be in their golden years having worked very hard to save up for retirement, and frequently their life savings are just taken from them by these cold-blooded fraudsters.” The DOJ senior exploitation crackdown venue is located in the Middle District of Florida, where five indictments and four civil complaints were filed. The DOJ also announced that the FBI and Postal Inspection Service have also taken action against over 600 accused money mules.
AG Barr has said that the DOJ senior exploitation crackdown and prevention of transnational elder fraud is an agency priority goal. Barr also announced that the DOJ is launching the National Nursing Home Initiative, to pursue nursing homes providing grossly substandard care. Barr told reporters “this initiative will bring justice to owners and operators who put profits over patients.”
The DOJ senior exploitation crackdown showcased numerous examples of extreme cases of nursing home resident neglect. Anecdotes included residents with scabies, bedsores down to bone, medications being diverted from patients, and even conditions deemed unfit for living. Speakers also stated that the DOJ senior exploitation crackdown has begun starting investigations into 30 individual nursing facilities across nine states in conjunction with the department’s Elder Justice Initiative.
Though citizens who attended were glad to hear the DOJ senior exploitation crackdown would protect residents from international threats. Some citizens, however, were more concerned with the lack of efforts to halt domestic financial exploitation. One citizen, Alan Sayler, told reporters “It all sounds good and it seems like they’re really working a lot of this, but they’re not addressing the guardianship. Same problems they’re talking about should be easier to tackle because it’s all local.”
For more information about financial exploitation in nursing homes, visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Financial Exploitation Page.