FINANCIAL CRIMES AGAINST THE ELDERLY

Report
FINANCIAL CRIMES
AGAINST THE ELDERLY
David E. Sipprell
Assistant District Attorney
Forsyth County
NDAA

The National District Attorneys Association
(NDAA) recognizes that elder abuse is a
serious crime and public health issue with
far reaching consequences for both the
victims and society. The NDAA endorses
the vigorous prosecution of cases of elder
abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
OPENING STATEMENT

CRIMES AND THEIR ELEMENTS

UNIQUE CHALLENGES TO PROSECUTING
CRIMES AGAINST THE ELDERLY

REAL WORLD LIMITATIONS
EXPLOITATION OF A DISABLED OR
ELDER ADULT THROUGH A
POSITION OF TRUST

Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
– Stands in a position of trust and confidence or
– Has a business relationship with an elder or disabled
adult and
– Knowingly
– By deception or intimidation
– Obtains or uses an elder or disabled adult’s funds,
assets, or property
– With the intent to
 Deprive temporarily or permanently the elder or disabled
adult’s use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or
property or
 Benefit someone other than the elder or disabled adult
EXPLOITATION OF A DISABLED OR
ELDER ADULT LACKING CONSENT

Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
– Knows or reasonably should know
– An elder or disabled adult lacks the capacity to
consent and
– Obtains or uses an elder or disabled adult’s funds,
assets, or property
– With the intent to
 Deprive temporarily or permanently the elder or disabled
adult’s use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or
property or
 Benefit someone other than the elder or disabled adult
EXPLOITATION OF A DISABLED OR
ELDER ADULT

Definitions:
– Elder Adult: a person 60 years of age or
older who is not able to provide for the social,
medical, psychiatric, psychological, financial,
or legal services necessary to safeguard the
person’s rights and resources and to maintain
the person’s physical and mental well-being
– Disabled Adult
– Capacity to Consent
EXPLOITATION OF A DISABLED OR
ELDER ADULT

Punishment
– If the property is valued at $100,000 or more
=> Class F Felony
– If the property is valued at $20,000 or more
but less than $100,000 => Class G Felony
– If the property is valued at less than $20,000
=> Class H Felony
ID THEFT

Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
– Knowingly
– Obtains, possesses, or uses
– Identifying information of another person, living or
dead
– With the intent to fraudulently represent the person is
the other person
– For the purpose of
 Making financial or credit transactions in the other person’s
name
 Avoiding legal consequences
 Obtaining anything of value, benefit, or advantage
ID THEFT

Punishment
– Class G Felony, except:
 if the victim suffers arrest, detention or conviction
 The person is in possession of identifying
information for 3 or more people
 => Class F
FORGERY

Common Law Forgery
– Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
 Makes a false writing
 That is apparently capable of effecting a fraud
 With intent to defraud
– Punishment
 Class 1 misdemeanor, unless it is alleged that it
was done “with deceit and intent to defraud” =>
Class H Felony
FORGERY

Forging an Endorsement on Checks
– Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
 Falsely makes
 An endorsement
 Apparently capable of effecting a fraud
 On an instrument
 For the sake of gain or
 With the intent to defraud or injure another
– Punishment: Class I Felony
FINANCIAL TRANSACTION CARD
CRIMES

False Representation as Cardholder
– Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
 Obtains money, goods, services
 With intent to defraud
 By representing that he/she is the holder of the financial
transaction card
– When he/she does not have the consent of the holder or
– When the card has not in fact been issued
– Punishment:
 If value of over $500 within 6/mo => Class I Felony
 If value of $500 or less within 6/mo => Class 2 Misdemeanor
FINANCIAL TRANSACTION CARD
CRIMES

Unauthorized Presentment of Card
– Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
 Obtains money, goods, services
 With intent to defraud
 By presenting a financial transaction card without
the authorization of the cardholder
– Punishment:
 If value of over $500 within 6/mo => Class I
Felony
 If value of $500 or less within 6/mo => Class 2
Misdemeanor
OBTAINING PROPERTY BY FALSE
PRETENSES

Elements: A person guilty of this offense:
– Makes a representation of a past or existing fact or a
future event
– That is false and
– Is calculated and intended to deceive and
– Does in fact deceive another person and
– The person thereby obtains money, property, services
or something of value

Punishment
– Class H Felony
– Class C Felony if property is worth more than
$100,000
CHALLENGES

Special Needs of the victim
– Health concerns
– Fear, anxiety, embarrassment

Proof Problems
– Definitions and Elements
– Value amounts
– Victim’s ability to testify
Family Relations
 Jury education

REAL WORLD LIMITATIONS

Resources
– 4 Prosecutors (General Crimes)
 Also prosecute B & Es, common law robberies,
possession of firearm by felon
– Limited Trial Time
 31 trial weeks this year
– No forensic accountants on staff
Structured Sentencing
 Civil Alternative

– Not a collection agency
– Same remedy, easier burden
CONTACT INFO
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Forsyth County DA’s Office: 761-2214
WSPD: 773-7700
FCSO: 917-7001
KPD: 996-3177
NC Attorney General: (919) 716-6400
SBI: (919) 662-4500
US Attorney: (336) 631-5268
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, NCDMV, Social
Security Admin

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