DENVER – United States Attorney Cole Finegan encourages the citizens of Colorado to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2022, and to remain vigilant on behalf of our older family, friends, and loved ones who are at increased risk of abuse and fraud.
Older persons are at higher risk of exploitation, emotional and physical abuse, neglect, financial frauds, and scams, which can be perpetrated against them by strangers and trusted friends and family alike. In addition to exploiting close relationships, abusers can contact older adults by phone, email, mail, social media, and the internet. Staying connected with older adults, encouraging trust and transparency regarding their relationships and contacts, and reducing social isolation are some of the most powerful tools in our community arsenal for combatting abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
These intentional and negligent acts affect millions of older adults every year, with wide-reaching implications on victims’ physical and emotional health, their finances, and their dignity and sense of trust. Unfortunately, the unprecedented challenges of the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated vulnerabilities that tend to disproportionally impact older adults.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado remains steadfastly committed to supporting and coordinating with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to combat abuse of our elder citizens. Schemes to defraud these citizens with tactics such as social security and tax imposter scams, tech support scams, lottery scams, and romance scams are priorities the Office continues to investigate and prosecute on an ongoing basis.
Last year, this Office secured a sentence of 108 months in prison and more than $880,000 in restitution against a defendant who targeted an elderly woman in Estes Park, Colorado by way of a lottery scam. His co-defendant is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
The Department of Justice maintains a robust set of resources to educate yourself and your loved ones about these issues at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. If you or someone you know is a victim of elder fraud, please call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833–FRAUD–11 (833–372–8311). The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eastern time. Services are available for speakers of English, Spanish, and other languages. You may also report suspected elder fraud by calling the Denver FBI field office at (303) 629-7171.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations in order to raise the public consciousness to these too often underrecognized and underreported violations of human rights.