Today’s Chicago Sun Times Alerts the Community About Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in Chicago

I just wanted to make readers aware of the Chicago Sun Times headline today: “Cops Warn of  ‘Sweetheart Scams.'” Reporter Lauren Fitzgerald interviewed several families in the city of Chicago whose older adult loved ones were swindled out of their savings by ‘Romanian Gypsies’.

Although the Chicago Sun Times is pushing this as ‘breaking news,’ as an elder law attorney I see it everyday and unfortunately, when the family is already in crisis mode. Clients come to our office after their father or grandfather has already been scammed out of thousands of dollars through gifts, forged checks, or false powers of attorney. As a caretaker of an older adult, always take into consideration that the “bad people” of the world may not always be in robbers garb, but could be the kind woman at church who has taken a recent interest in a widowed elderly man, or the maid who has access to the older adult’s home and can come and go as she pleases.  Independent seniors, simply looking for companionship, can be vulnerable to these attacks. Elder abuse comes in all shapes and sizes.

Always contact a Chicago elder attorney if you suspect financial exploitation. Even if financial exploitation has not occurred, contact a Chicago elder law attorney to offer ways to plan ahead to protect and monitor the older adult’s estate. Peck Ritchey was hired by the City of Chicago to help re-write the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act and has years of experience fighting financial exploitation of older adults in the courtroom.

For the full Chicago Sun Times Article, please click here.

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Make Your Presence Known- Advocate for Alzheimer’s

This weekend Peck Ritchey has several big events to share with our readers as we reach out to the community to advocate, raise awareness and educate.

THIS SATURDAY, September 11th, join Peck Ritchey as it proudly sponsors the Chicago Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk for the third year. We can’t say it any better than the Alzheimer’s Association: “With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and nearly 10 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now!” And World Alzheimer’s Day is September 21st so start your advocacy now!

In addition to the inspiring 5K walk down the Chicago lakefront, all of our team mates will receive a free autographed copy of Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers, written by our colleague Dan Kuhn of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter. For more information on this event, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website or contact Kate Konieczny, Marketing Coordinator, at

THIS SUNDAY, September 12th, at 10:30 a.m., from the comfort of your home,while you are reading your morning paper and sipping on some coffee, listen in to Radio 750AM  where Kerry Peck will chat live on “The Legal Forum” radio show about wills, trusts and estate planning.

Get questions answered such as:

  • What are the general building blocks of estate planning every person should have- regardless of income?
  • What is going on with the estate tax?
  • What is the difference between a living will and a power of attorney for healthcare and what will happen if I don’t have one?

A busy weekend for us, but we hope you can join us!

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The Elder Justice Act

Elder AbuseAs part of the new health care reform bill, in March President Obama signed into law the Elder Justice Act. The act was initially introduced by Illinois representative Jan Schakowsky and took seven years to pass. The Elder Justice Act has been deemed  “The most comprehensive federal legislation ever to combat elder abuse, neglect and exploitation” by the Elder Justice Coalition

The Elder Justice Act:
•    Addresses the differences in state laws and practices that lead to significant disparities in prevention, protection, social services, law enforcement, and other inequities.
•    Improves the quality of information and research related to elder abuse by developing research standards for studies.
•    Studies how states investigate complaints of nursing facilities which receive federal funding.
•    Establishes an Elder Justice Coordinating Council composed of representatives from various government agencies to make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the coordination of activities of the Federal, State, local and private agencies and entities relating to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
•    Establishes an Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of stakeholders to enhance communication among private agencies, build consensus, and make recommendations to the Elder Justice Coordinating Council.
•    Publishes a list of criminal acts by a nursing facility or its employee on a web site. The Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act creates a national program of criminal background checks for persons.
•    Funds a feasibility study on establishing a National Nurse Aide Registry.
•    Authorizes grants to enhance long-term care staffing through training and recruitment with employee incentives.
•    Provides $32.5 million (over 4 years) in grants to fund Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program to improve ombudsman effectiveness in addressing abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and an additional $40 million ($10 million annually) in training programs for national organizations and State long term care ombudsman programs.
•    Penalizes any nursing facility which receives federal funding, such as Medicare, and does not immediately report any “reasonable suspicion of a crime” against a resident or patient to local law enforcement.
•    Creates new Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Forensic Centers to develop expertise and standards for investigating elder abuse. The four stationary and six mobile centers will promote detection and increase the capacity to prosecute offenders.
•    Requires the Attorney General to plan for prosecutions of elder abuse cases.
•    Adult Protective Services (APS) funding. Provides $400 million ($100 million per year) in first time dedicated funding for adult protective services.
•    Provides $100 million ($25 million annually) for state demonstration grants to test a variety of methods to improve APS.

If you or a loved one is having issues relating to elder abuse, financial exploitation or neglect, call our elder law attorneys for a free consultation, (312) 201-0900.

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