Elder financial abuse is a multi-billion dollar problem and Florida is taking steps to stop exploitation. Gainesville will host a conference for professionals across the state who work with aging adults and have a mission of stopping exploitation now. The community is also invited to stay current on how to identify an prevent exploitation.
Sponsors include the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, AFELA (Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys), Elder Options, Elder Care of Alachua County, and the North Central Florida Senior Advocacy Network. The conference will be held at the Gainesville Senior Center, 5701 NW 34 Blvd on Friday, November 15, 2019 at 9am-4:30pm. Conference registration.
Financial exploitation of the elderly is an epidemic of monstrous proportions costing older Americans 2.9 billion to 36.5 billion annually. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. Seniors scammed by strangers lost an average of $17,000, while those who were ripped off by someone they know lost an average of $50,200, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found.
There is growing evidence that the brain changes with age making the senior more exploitable. The inability to doubt or assess risk appears to be linked to an MRI visible brain change–the thinning of the cortical insula. This cutting edge discovery requires our immediate attention on the legislative front and study/research. The scientific community is listening as attempts are made to expand the research base on this terrible epidemic of exploitation and financial scams.
The one-day conference gathers present and future leaders and stakeholders to stop exploitation with a multi-disciplinary approach to the fight against financial exploitation through science, policy, and prosecution strategy. Leaders in science and law will join to share history, information, and strategies.
David Brancaccio of Marketplace radio will kick off the day as the Keynote Speaker detailing his groundbreaking discoveries in his investigative report on the subject. State legislators Kathleen Passidomo and Colleen Burton will share their progress and victories in the last few years, and the view ahead. Researchers will update us on the science of exploitation and tell us why our brains sometimes just cannot see a scam. Nick Cox from the Florida Attorney General’s office, and Secretary Richard Prudom, from the Department of Elder Affairs will update us on where Florida is headed. Prosecutors from across the state will tell us about their victories and heartbreaks in prosecuting exploitation. Elder law attorneys will tell us how they are handling these traumatic cases in the civil court system. Finally, we will hear some stories from local victims about their own personal losses.
Exploitation Conference Schedule:
- 9:15a-David Brancaccio, Radio and Television Journalist: What I have learned in my Brains and Losses investigation.
- 10:15a-Nick Cox, Esq, Office of the Florida Attorney General. Criminal prosecution priorities for seniors and vulnerable adult victims
- 11a-Florida Senator Kathleen Passidomo and Representative Colleen Burton
- 12p-Ph.D. researchers Nick Spreng, Bonnie Levin, Natalie Ebner, and Gary Turner: Their study on the exploitable brain and what the science and future studies will tell us.
- 1p-Stories of local victims.
- 2p-Panel Discussion: Prosecutors and elder law attorneys. Trouble shooting criminal and civil cases-roadblocks and victories.
- 3p-Hot Topics: Research and legislation-where do we go from here? Tools to access exploitability, new professional guardianship protections, exploiter’s disinheritance, building up the successful exploitation in Justin Statue.
- 4p-Richard Prudom, Department of Elder Affairs: An update on where Florida is headed.
We must be diligent in our defenses. We must also realize that we too may have loved ones who are being exploited right now and are too ashamed to report the event or are unaware of the exploitation or scam in progress. Ask questions! But be kind. Exploitation is twisted heart crime where the victim usually has a relationship with their exploiter, no matter how seemingly perverse the relationship appears.” Shannon Miller, Esq.
Shannon Miller is one of the organizers of this conference along with sponsor stakeholders. She is a member, North Central Florida Senior Advocacy Network, Board Certified Elder Law Attorney and Founder of The Miller Elder Law Firm, specializes in advocating for the rights of seniors and those with disabilities both inside and outside the Court house. Ms. Miller is the Legislative Co-Chair of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar where she helps draft legislation like Florida’s Asset Freeze Law to stop financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. She, along with other members of the North Central Florida Senior Advocacy Network created this Annual event to pull all the experts together to share and educate, and set goals to Stop Exploitation.