Elder fraud poses a significant threat, especially in states like Louisiana where protecting senior citizens from deceit and manipulation has taken center stage for law enforcement.
As Louisiana’s population ages, it is even more important to become aware of the circumstances leading to elder fraud charges.
Elder fraud involves deliberately deceiving or manipulating someone typically 60 or older to gain unauthorized access to their assets, benefits, property or services. Acts range from unauthorized use of an elderly person’s credit cards to persuading them to change their will or estate plans.
Reasons the elderly become targets
Elderly individuals often find it easy to trust others. Some might experience cognitive impairments or lack a close circle of family and friends for protection. Often, those close to the injured party, such as family members, neighbors or caregivers, commit the fraud. However, people who do not know the individual may also find ways to take advantage of the person’s vulnerabilities.
Criteria Louisiana police use to charge someone with elder fraud
For Louisiana police to charge someone with elder fraud, they need to demonstrate:
- The injured party’s age is 60 years or older.
- The accused knowingly and intentionally deceived or exploited the elderly individual.
- The accused accessed their assets, property, benefits or services unlawfully.
Various forms of evidence can support these charges, including financial records, witness testimonies or direct communication showing an intent to defraud between the accused and the injured party.
Ways to guard against false accusations
Understanding how elder fraud charges work is one thing, but ensuring protection against potential false accusations is another. Keeping clear records of any financial transactions or decisions made for an elderly person can safeguard those in positions of trust. Keeping other family members in the loop ensures transparency and helps prevent misunderstandings.
Louisiana views elder fraud as a serious crime with heavy consequences for those convicted. Penalties can range up to 20 years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines and lengthy probation. Knowing the conditions for an elder fraud charge and maintaining open communication and transparency can help prevent unnecessary legal entanglements.