Monday, 27 May 2019

Seniors beware: Power against fraud and exploitation is education and awareness – Southgate News Herald

When Anthony Servitto started his job as head of the senior crimes unit for Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office. he figured most of the victims would be seniors with disabilities that made them vulnerable, or with no family for support.

It has been a whole lot more.

“With the scams that are being pulled off today, it can be anyone,” said the assistant prosecuting attorney:


• A trusting 95-year-old woman in Clawson gave a man posing as a city worker $150 because he told her that she needed to replace her water lines.

• A man and a woman in Troy scammed a group of seniors out of more than $10,000 in gift cards purchased under false pretenses (usually to help a friend in need) at a local Target. The Target cards were used to buy other gift cards used for the purchase of high-end merchandise online that was sold to customers overseas.

• After a 76-year-old widow in Macomb County allowed her son and his wife to move into her home after they were evicted from theirs, they not only ate all of her food but got into fights that left the mother’s home and personal items in shambles. She had to buy herself a refrigerator and microwave, and eventually got a lock for her bedroom, where she remained whenever they were home.

• In another case involving a loving parent, an 83-year-old farmer in St. Clair County discovered that the calls he was getting from a collection agency were due to his two daughters. They used his Social Security number to purchase credit cards, which they maxed out.

These are just some of the cases involving senior citizens, who have no disability other than being kind-hearted and trusting individuals.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office prosecutes 10-12 cases a year of fraud against seniors that rise to the level of felonies.

“Oftentimes it’s a type of embezzlement, improper