Office of the State Attorney

Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida

 
 
 

 

Crimes Against the Elderly


 

Elders are the fastest growing age group in the country and the third fastest growing job is home care. Add these together, and you have a recipe for exploitation.   Sadly enough, it is not always strangers who take advantage of the elderly.  Sometimes it is a trusted friend or neighbor, or even a family member.

To keep these citizens safe, an Elderly Exploitation and Abuse Unit will function cooperatively with our Economics Crime Unit to focus on the crimes that affect this rapidly-growing segment of the Southwest Florida population.

The Elderly Exploitation and Abuse Unit will:

  • Focus on protecting our older citizens from fraud and exploitation through public education, as well as the investigation and prosecution of exploitation cases.

  • Partner with other agencies to educate the elderly on how to protect themselves from exploitation, and what to do if they become victimized.

  • Engage in a cooperative effort to educate caregivers and those who work or live with the elderly on how to recognize the signs of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

  •  Work cooperatively with all law enforcement agencies in the 20th Judicial Circuit to identify and prevent elderly abuse.

  • Assist other law enforcement and service agencies in the investigation of elderly abuse cases.

  • Investigate and aggressively prosecute complex financial exploitation, physical or sexual abuse, or criminal neglect cases, referred by law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, and other agencies.

While the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that 33.2% of the population within our five counties is above age 50, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that our elderly population is particularly susceptible to crimes motivated by economic gain. Additionally, financial crimes are often difficult to investigate, complex to prosecute, and there can be complicated jurisdictional boundaries to navigate.  Victims often have close ties to their offenders and may even feel protective towards them. They may want to stop the exploitation and recover their assets, but not want the offender punished. Victims also can suffer from feelings of embarrassment and shame.  This, coupled with a fear others will think they cannot take care of themselves, may trigger concerns about their ability to continue living independently.

For these reasons, this office will always treat elderly victims with the utmost respect. They should not be made to feel dependent when they are victimized, and therefore every effort will be made to keep them actively involved in the prosecution process.

The Office of the State Attorney, 20th Circuit, will not only focus on what is often the most important result for the victim -- the prompt recovery of assets-- but also on punishing the offender to prevent a reoccurrence with another victim.

The primary goal of the State Attorney’s Office is to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable, while doing as much as possible to restore the victim physically, emotionally and financially.  By working closely with victims and being sensitive to their needs, our prosecution unit will be able to give these victims a voice in a court of law.

If you feel you are being victimized, please call one of the following Economic Crime Units in the location nearest to you:

  • Lee County (Cape Coral) at (239)533-7161

  • Charlotte County at (941) 637-2104

  • Collier County at (239) 774-8034

  • Hendry and Glades Counties at (863) 674-4033

 

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Proudly Serving the Five Counties of Southwest Florida

Charlotte

Collier

Glades

Hendry

Lee