On the whole, studies continue to show that seniors citizens are more “trusting” than younger demographics. Sadly, that trust is often exploited by those seeking to scam seniors out of significant sums of money, including retirement savings. These scams take many forms, and each are a reminder for families to be vigilant about the financial well-being of elderly loved ones.
Recently, headlines were made when authorities arrested a couple who are alleged to have bilked seniors out of nearly $6 million in a far-reaching insurance fraud scheme. The pair tricked many different families into purchasing long-term care insurance to provide in-home care to seniors. They collected a mountain of premiums, but refused to provide any of the actual services needed when participants sought use of their claims.
According to various reports, more than 230 seniors purchased insurance policies from the couple. They paid monthly premiums as high as $4,000 for what they thought would ensure them “unlimited in-home, non-medical services.” In reality, it bought them nothing.
The plan worked by having the seniors pay for in-home services out-of-pocket, like cooking, cleaning, and other basic chores. The seniors then expected to submit a claim order, and those costs would be reimbursed. But the couple never intended to reimburse anything. They simply took the monthly funds and refused to honor the claim requests.
The husband in the scheme is a former insurance salesman, and so he was familiar with the appropriate ins and out of the industry and ways to put on a convincing front. The pair ran the business under several different names. Authorities believe that the total haul of nearly $6 million was perpetrated in at least six states over a ten year period.
As the daughter of one of the victim’s explained, “”It takes a really special narcissism and cruelty to live an opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, trusting, often physically or mentally fragile senior citizens,”
What makes this case so tragic is that the seniors hurt usually only discovered the fraud at the exact moment when they needed help the most–usually after a health decline or serious medical event requiring at-home aid.
It is critical for families to rely on the help of trusted professionals experienced in all facets of elder law issues, including procuring secure and reliable long-term care insurance. The attorneys at our firm are available to help families throughout New York on various issues, from estate planning, securing private insurance, and joining the Medicare program.