Financial Elder Abuse Lawyers


There are various people who may try to exploit a senior for their own financial gain. Some of these people will outright steal from a senior, while others may do it under the guise of providing financial services.

It is crucial for families to detect elder financial abuse before too much harm can be done.

Families may have a potential lawsuit or claim to recover the money. Contact the financial elder abuse attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas to discuss a possible legal case.

Seniors Are Often Defrauded By Those They Trust

Seniors are perhaps the segment of the population that is most vulnerable to fraud. There are some estimates that show that seniors lose close to $3 billion each year to financial abuse.

This total may be low, since many cases may be undetected or unreported. A vast majority of these cases will never be known. Sometimes, a senior may be too embarrassed to say something.

Numerous unscrupulous people may try to take advantage of seniors. On a personal level, those who have access to, or control over, the senior may try to take advantage of their position.

Different Types of Elder Financial Abuse

A common example of financial elder abuse is when a caretaker tries to manipulate a senior.

They may threaten the senior if they do not do something the person wants, or they could find a way to swindle money from their victim. This can occur in the home, or in nursing home settings.

Here are some more examples of financial elder abuse:

  • Pressuring the senior to sign over assets or to change the will to make them a beneficiary
  • Gaining the senior’s trust to defraud them of money
  • Abusing access they may have to the senior’s money or property
  • Charging money to come over to pay a visit
  • Stealing the senior’s money or property
  • Abusing power of attorney that the senior may have granted

Elder Financial Abuse From Brokers and Advisers

Seniors are also vulnerable to fraud by financial advisers and brokers. These professionals may see seniors as targets to exploit for their own financial gain.

A broker could be out to steal money from the senior’s account. In many cases, the abuse is more subtle.

For example, the broker may persuade the senior to buy an unsuitable investment because the broker is paying extremely high commissions. A broker can commit elder financial abuse when they engage in a serial pattern of breaking rules and laws in an attempt to profit off the senior and make money at their expense.

FINRA Rules Relating to Potential Elder Financial Abuse

In fact, brokers have obligations under FINRA rules when they suspect that elder financial abuse is occurring. FINRA Rule 2165 allows a member to place a hold on an account when they believe that financial exploitation has occurred, is occurring, has been attempted or will be attempted to place a temporary hold on a securities transaction or disbursement of funds or securities.

Under FINRA Rule 4512, the broker must make reasonable efforts to:

“obtain the name of and contact information for a trusted contact person upon the opening of a non-institutional customer’s account or when updating account information for a non-institutional account.” 

Claims Against Brokers for Elder Financial Abuse

There may even be a chance that you could take action against the broker for failure to monitor customer accounts in accordance with the rules. If the fraud was committed by a financial adviser or registered representative, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against their employer to get back the money that was lost.

Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

It is essential that family members keep a very close eye on the senior’s finances to detect any abuse that may be occurring. They should be vigilant and ask questions whenever necessary.

There are numerous warning signs of financial abuse that include:

  • Unusual and unexplained withdrawals from the senior’s account
  • A different pattern of transactions that the person had never engaged in before
  • A hesitation to talk about money and fear whenever the topic is raised
  • New credit cards being opened in the person’s name
  • New friends that always want to be around the senior, especially when going to the bank

Elder Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes

If the financial abuse has occurred in the nursing home setting, it must be reported. If you make a report of abuse to the nursing home, they have two hours to transmit the report to the state.

In South Carolina, families or others may report suspected abuse of a vulnerable senior to the Department of Social Services. Financial abuse is not among the types of abuse of a vulnerable senior that certain professionals have an obligation to report under South Carolina law, so families must continue to remain vigilant.

Contact an Elder Financial Abuse Lawyer Today

If your elderly loved one was defrauded, you may be able to take legal action. Who you may sue depends on the nature of the financial abuse and where it occurred.

You could file a FINRA arbitration claim against the broker or an abuse lawsuit against the nursing home. The attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas can help you file a claim that could lead to financial compensation. We are here to help you get justice for what happened.

To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney, you can send us a message online, or you can call us today at (803)-805-7546.



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