A Pennsylvania couple is facing charges of felony theft and access device fraud for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from the man’s father over a four-year period. Chester Robert Garman III and his wife Kathy Alice Garman perpetrated the fourth largest financial elder financial abuse case since 2004, according to Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick in a report from Fox 43.
The article, “Son charged for stealing $153,168 from 86-year-old father, officials talk elder abuse warning signs,” says that Dauphin County officials are using this elder financial abuse case as a reminder for the public to monitor those 60 and older for signs of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
Reports of elder abuse in the Pennsylvania county continue to rise every year. Thus far in 2018, county officials have received more than 1,600 reports of elder abuse.
"In Dauphin County we want to make it clear that if there are suspected abuses occurring, we will take actions," said Hartwick. "We are communicating, and we will do everything to make sure we are protecting out seniors and bring those individuals who perpetrate those crimes to justice."
It’s not uncommon in elder abuse cases—such as the Garman's—for a person familiar to the victim to be the bad actor, someone they know and trust. The Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging says there are many signs of abuse. If a person sees anything they think is questionable, they should call the authorities.
Elder abuse can come in many types:
- Physical elder abuse: the non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury or impairment;
- Emotional elder abuse: causing the senior emotional or psychological pain or distress, like intimidation through yelling or threats and isolation;
- Sexual elder abuse: contact with an elderly person without their consent;
- Elder neglect or failing to fulfill a caretaking obligation;
- Financial exploitation: unauthorized use of an individual’s personal funds or property; and
- Healthcare fraud and abuse by unethical doctors, nurses, and other professional care providers.
Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo says to help prevent financial abuse of an elder, loved ones should have a power of attorney signed—especially for a senior who has a caregiver, even if they are a family member. Without this legal document, it can be a license to steal.
Reference: Fox 43 (October 22, 2018) “Son charged for stealing $153,168 from 86-year-old father, officials talk elder abuse warning signs”