Elderly Woman Robbed by Hired Caregiver
A 79-year-old Indianapolis woman with dementia hired Julie Lagos through a home care company to be her caregiver. Lagos was hired to visit three times per week. About a year into her employment, Lagos took the woman’s credit card and also opened up other lines of credit to pay for tattoos, body piercings, a 60-inch TV, furniture rentals and a racing vehicle for her boyfriend. Lagos even charged the filing fee for her divorce to the 79-year-old’s Chase card.
All in all, Lagos was accused of spending more than $150,000 of the older woman’s money. Financial exploitation of the elderly has become a much bigger problem than most people would ever imagine. With the “baby boomer” generation becoming reliant on assisted living facilities and nursing care, many elderly persons are becoming reliant on hired help to take care of their affairs. Financial exploitation is becoming such a problem Indiana’s underfunded and understaffed Adult Protective Services system is so swamped that it struggles to investigate all but the most outrageous and clear-cut cases.
Indiana saw 1,277 financial exploitation cases involving elder adults in 2010 alone, compared with just 110 bank robberies, according to state records. Bank robberies that year resulted in losses of less than $1 million. Financial exploitation: $38 million. Nationally, older adults lose about $2.9 billion each year through financial abuse and exploitation, according to a 2011 MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse.