OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Crimes against aging parents and grandparents are on the rise, especially crimes that target life savings.
“A year ago, I may get two or three maybe four (calls) a year, now we’re averaging maybe one or two a month,” said Overland Park Detective Byron Pierce about the number of tips on crimes against the elderly.
The department investigated a case of elder abuse involving an Olathe man earlier this year. The Johnson County District Attorney’s office charged Thomas Hess with stealing more than $100,000 from his elderly mother and depriving her from getting proper health treatment.
A bank employee contacted police after Hess tried to withdraw a large sum of money from his mother's account. Hess killed himself before going to trial.
Investigators say cases like this are common. It is important to keep a close eye on aging loved ones. Some red flags that a loved one may be at risk of financial crimes:
1) They become close friends with a stranger or particular friend/relative
2) They are isolated from family and friends
3) They suddenly add another person’s name to bank accounts or grant them power of attorney
4) Large purchases appear on their bank accounts or credit cards
“If you see significant amount of charges to an account and they are to very high end stores, I think you need to say 'wait a minute, something is going on',” Pierce said.
On Thursday, members of the Johnson County District Attorney’s office will be taking phone calls regarding questions about crimes against the elderly. Please call 816-932-4321 between 4:30-6:30 p.m..
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