Much recent attention has been centered on senior financial exploitation. In particular, many elder care advocates in our state and throughout the country are working to educate the older generations on common techniques used by hucksters to take advantage of unsuspecting seniors. Usually this awareness effort involves explaining the most common small-time scams targeting this group like the “foreign lottery” scam and the “call from grandchild” scam. See here for a previous post here discussing some of these issues.
When using these types of scams the perpetrators usually try to profit by collecting smaller amounts of money from many different seniors. Hundreds or thousands of calls and emails are sent out in those scams with only some seniors falling into the trap.
Our New York elder law attorneys know that there are different, larger scams that seniors also face. In many ways these individual efforts are far most dangerous because they involve much more than losing a couple hundred or thousand dollars. These bigger efforts can literally involve swindling millions from unsuspecting seniors.
For example, DNA Info reported last week on a press conference held by Manhattan U.S. Attorney on charges filed against a pair attempting to swindle a woman out of her multi-million dollar apartment complex in Manhattan’s Washington Height’s neighborhood. According to the story, the two men befriended the elderly woman in 2006. They then began working on a plan to gain her trust. Eventually they convinced her to sell them the apartment building that she owned for more than four decades. They told the woman that she would receive $3.1 million for the property.
They had no intention of actually properly paying for the real estate. Instead, they used fake checks during the sales process. Then, hoping to capitalize quickly on their asset, the duo used it to deceive a bank into giving them a $1.8 million mortgage loan secured on the property.
Fortunately these two were caught. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman explained that “through lies and deception, these individuals abused the trust of an elderly woman in order to perpetrate a multi-million-dollar fraud.”
This story is a crucial reminder of the need to always have close, outside counsel and advice when it comes to these sorts of transactions. It is also indicative of the need for seniors and their family members to be very careful about who they trust with financial issues. That is true even when it comes to selecting a New York City elder law attorney. The ring-leader in this real estate scheme was a lawyer.
An estate planning elder law attorney can provide crucial oversight to help prevent these frauds. However, when choosing a law firm or attorney to work with, it is important to select one with a solid reputation to ensure they can be counted on to act with the utmost professionalism and ethics.
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