Though studies show that the rates at which elder Americans have been victims of financial abuse has dropped since 2010, seniors still remain vulnerable to fraudulent acts, from investment advisors, family and complete strangers. A report from the Investor Protection Trust found that 17% of individuals over the age of 65 admitted that they had been victims of some financial abuse.
In one of the most high-profile instances of senior financial abuse, prosecutors charged Michael Donnelly, former president of Coastal Investment Advisors, Inc., with bilking seniors and others out of more than $2 million. They say that he instructed clients to make checks payable to Donnelly Advisors Group, then cashed the checks and used them for his own personal expenses, including the private tuition for his children. He also fabricated investment reports, statements and trade documentation.
Donnelly settled the civil lawsuit related to the fraudulent behavior last fall, agreeing to pay $1.99 million in restitution. Earlier this year, he pled guilty to securities and wire fraud. A federal court in Philadelphia sentenced him to spend more than eight years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Nearly 10 years ago, Anthony Marshall, the son of former New York socialite Brooke Astor, was convicted of stealing tens of millions of dollars from his elderly mother during her latter years. Marshall’s son, Philip, who testified against his father in a six-month criminal trial, said that his grandmother was only one of many seniors who are taken advantage of by children, financial advisors and others. Philip Marshall now travels the country speaking as an advocate for reforms that would provide better protection for seniors in financial affairs.
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At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have protected the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online [Link to Contact Page].
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