Elder Financial Abuse Growing

(December 29) The case of a Florida retiree cheated out of his life savings highlights the tragic depth of financial abuse of the elderly.

Ninety-one-year-old Joe Forrest of Sarasota lost $246K to former broker Paul Arnold of Raymond James & Associates. Only the accidental intervention of a caring acquaintance led to an investigation and, ultimately, a FINRA judgment that stripped Arnold of his credentials, awarded Forrest $739K in restitution and damages, and led to an ongoing criminal case. The estimated size of the “industry” that financially exploits seniors is $2.9B in 2010, up about 10% from the previous year, and an estimated 86% of these victims do not report the crimes out of shame, confusion, or isolation.

(Barbara Peters Smith, Sarasota Florida Herald-Tribune, at www.heraldtribune.com)