Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation

handsGiven the aging population and the struggles people face in today’s economy, more and more extended families are living together and caring for aging relatives. If you live with an aging parent or another loved one who is suffering from an age-related disease, you probably know that certain medical conditions can cause your loved one to be confrontational and even sometimes violent. Such conditions include dementia, mental illness, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others. Most domestic violence allegations involving the elderly arise out of confrontations in which the caregiver is simply trying to prevent the senior from injuring another member of the household, the caregiver, or even themselves.

What you might not be aware of, however, is that you can be charged with domestic violence if your loved one accuses you of mishandling his or her finances. If you have been arrested for elder abuse because of the alleged financial exploitation of an elderly loved one, you need to protect your rights and contact an aggressive criminal defense attorney immediately.

What Do You Need to Know?

Illinois has a statute called the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act (the “Act”) which sets out the laws that govern this area. It is important to be aware of the definition of abuse in the Act, as it is much broader than in general, everyday usage. To be covered under the protections of the Act, the victim need only be 60 years or older. Abuse is defined in the Act to include not only physical, mental, or sexual injury, but also “exploitation” of the financial resources of the elder victim in question.

Penalties for Financial Exploitation

You can be charged with financial exploitation if you stand in a position of trust and confidence to an elderly person, and take his or her property through deception or intimidation. A person of trust is either a parent, a spouse, a child, grandchild, or other related person, a person who co-owns property with the victim, or a person who has a fiduciary relationship with the victim, including guardians or power of attorney agents.

Financial exploitation of an elderly person starts as a Class Four felony under the Act. If the amount in question is between $300 and $5,000, then it is treated as a Class Three Felony. You will be charged with a Class Two felony if the value of the alleged financial exploitation is between $5,000 and $100,000, and you can be charged with a Class One felony if:

  • The value of the property is $100,000;
  • If the elderly person is over 70 years of age and the value of the property is $15,000 or more;
  • If the elderly person is 80 years of age or older and the value of the property is $5,000 or more.  

If the financial issue arises over a house or other large piece of property, you may be facing a Class One Felony conviction and serious jail time.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have been charged with financial exploitation under the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act, and you are in DuPage County or the greater Chicago area, contact David L. Freidberg’s law offices now at 312-560-7100 for a confidential and free consultation to see how we can help you.