Family Members Charged with Felony Theft for Allegedly Stealing from Father

This is a sad reminder that much elder financial abuse takes place at the hands of family members. In this case, a son and daughter-in-law have been charged with taking more than $150,000 from the 86-year-old father.

Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick says that the fourth largest financial case since 2004 is now underway, reports Fox 43 in“Son charged for stealing $153,168 from 86-year-old father, officials talk elder abuse warning signs.” Chester Robert Garman III and his wife Kathy Alice Garman have been charged with felony theft and access device fraud for allegedly stealing from the man’s father over the course of four years.

MP900202201Dauphin 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.

The County’s District Attorney advises families to have a power of attorney put in place, especially if there is a caregiver who has access to the senior’s financial assets. The power of attorney provides a clear delineation of what the obligations are of the caregiver to the person receiving the care.

Reference: Fox 43 (October 22, 2018) “Son charged for stealing $153,168 from 86-year-old father, officials talk elder abuse warning signs”

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