Americans take elder abuse seriously. When evidence arises of possible exploitation, neglect or abuse of someone over aged 65, the reaction is generally swift and aggressive.
For those facing accusations of elder abuse or financial exploitation of the elderly, these accusations can come in both criminal court and in civil court. Further, the public perception is usually one of outrage. When facing allegations in the criminal courts, it takes an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how to find the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to help you avoid a conviction and prison time.
South Florida financial exploitation guilty plea
In a recent case in Fort Pierce, Florida, a caretaker of an elderly couple pleaded guilty to federal crime charges in a case involving exploitation of the elderly. According to the report, the defendant worked as a caretaker for four years, helping them with basic bill paying and record=keeping services. During the time of her employment, the defendant embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the elderly couple into her own accounts by way of forged signatures on checks and electronic transfers.
The defendant could face more than 30 years imprisonment for charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, which include mandatory prison time if convicted. The aggravated identity theft charges carry mandatory penalties of two years in prison, on each count of conviction, to run consecutive (after) the sentence for the underlying fraud. In other words, if convicted, the caretaker faces at least 4 years in prison on top of any other sentence.
Criminal cases involving financial exploitation, abuse and neglect of the elderly are common in the Miami and Chicago areas and most urban areas throughout the country. Many prosecutors take a particularly aggressive and punitive approach to charging cases of this kind. Judges also often impose heavy sentences. The elderly are vulnerable, so these cases are taken very seriously in our justice system. State statutes and federal sentencing guidelines call for increased penalties for offenses involving vulnerable victims like the elderly and prosecutors often charge the most serious charges and seek significant sentences.
The most important thing you can do if charged with elder abuse, fraud, or exploitation crimes is fight back aggressively. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can potentially find problems with the investigation, arrest and procedures used to obtain evidence and charges and also find issues with evidentiary hurdles the prosecutors face when attempting to prove their case. With the right attorney, you can gain significant advantages in an investigation or prosecution of criminal charges revolving around elder abuse and get the case dismissed, end it at the investigatory level, minimize the charges or reduce sentencing. Fight back aggressively to protect your rights and your future.