On The Lookout: Family Members Eye Money From Seniors - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

On The Lookout: Family Members Eye Money From Seniors

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WICOMICO CO., Md. - Baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic group of Americans.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, close to 13,000 residents over 65 resided in Wicomico County in 2010. Just two years later, there were 800 more.

The increase could be why there are more financial crimes targeting this group in the county.

Sgt. David Owens of WBI says it's more noticeable this year.

Since January 1st, Owens says his unit has seen at least three cases a month. One case stands out. Josh Gordy reportedly stole $126,000 from his own grandmother. He faces dozens of felony charges for theft claims dating back to August 2010.

Wicomico County assistant state's attorney Joel Todd calls these types of crimes are "very, very serious." Todd works on most of the cases in the county involving vulnerable adult and disability crimes. Most of the time, the victim suffers from a form of dementia and family members are eyeing their money, says Todd.
"What hurts them the most is not just the amount of theft, but the loss," said Todd. "Someone that they loved and cared for that they trusted to look after them has betrayed them and left them paupers and wards of the state of Maryland."

"It could be gambling, it could be living beyond their means or it could be even a drug habit [for reasons to steal from a family member]," said Owens. "But this is another way people are finding a way to fund that habit."

Gordy faces up to 720 years behind bars. He was first arrested last September after allegedly stealing his grandmother's diamond ring.

So, how can you protect yourself and your loved ones from a similar crime from happening?
Owens say it's best to develop a checks and balance system just like in a business. According to Owens, it's better to spread out the responsibilities of a power of attorney while caring for someone who is vulnerable.

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