By GEORGE CHAMBERLIN, Executive Editor
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Paul Greenwood is a great crime fighter. In particular, in his role as a deputy district attorney in San Diego, he heads up the elder abuse prosecution unit. That's why he was invited to testify last week at a hearing in Washington, D.C., called by the Senate Special Committee on Aging, titled, “America’s Invisible Epidemic: Preventing Elder Financial Abuse.”
Greenwood said at least 65 percent of his office’s prosecutions involve some form of financial exploitation.
“The conduct of the criminals is becoming more brazen and diverse," Greenwood testified. "The perpetrators are constantly developing new ways to gain access to our seniors’ life savings and have focused upon a generation that typically has been more trusting and less able or willing to self-report the victimization.”
That hesitancy makes it difficult to determine the size of the crimes.
“While the costs associated with elder financial abuse are estimated at $2.9 billion each year, financial abuse often goes unrecognized because victims are too afraid or embarrassed to report the crime to authorities,” said Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the committee.