Law enforcement getting more and more reports of financial exploitation of the elderly
A guilty plea put a woman in jail for financial exploitation of the elderly. Opal Tillman deceived, used her influence and intimidated a Mountain Brook couple she was hired to take care of, but instead took thousands of dollars. ABC 33/40 is working for you to help keep this from happening to someone you love.
People like Tillman are preying on our elderly population all over. An Aalabama law lets law enforcement take a report from anyone who calls concerned any person 60 years or older is being taken advatange of financially. Investigators must look out for one thing: a relationship between an accused thief and money's owner.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Detective, Patricia Alexander, spends a lot of time tracking people who write bad checks, steal credit cards or use funny money. She's starting to spend more time going through case folders on people who exploitthe elderly financially.
"It's a whole generation of people who have been raised differently, lived in a time you opened your doors to people or when you answered your phone to cold calls," Det. Alexander.
Linda Ramsey knows it's not a new crime, but might be surpised it's one criminals are choosing more often.
"If they lived to be old, would they want those people to do them that way," asked Ramsey.
Detective Alexander believes most examples are not being reported.
"Most victims don't necessarily know they are being exploited and the suspect is a family member," added Det. Alexander.
A law, on the books since 2014, allows the prosecution of anyone who takes money from the elderly.
"We are talking about a long and drawn out process where this caregiver, family member or organization entrenches themselves into the elderly person's life," added Det. Alexander.
Regina Bradberry doesn't want a long and drawn out process arresting the theives.
"I just think law enforcement should just go ahead, step in there and put them under the jail. It's just not right," said Bradberry.
The 2014 law also helps protect the people who report someone accused of financially exploiting people 60 years and older. The person accused can not hold liable the person who reported them even if an investigation reveals no wrong-doing.