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Oregon Releases Study on Financial Exploitation of Adults With Disabilities and the Elderly

Jes Burns

Oregon has released the first-ever study on the financial exploitation of adults with disabilities and the elderly.

It may be a crime that happens over a long period or a one time event. And it may take years for the victim to discover it, if they ever do. The study found the majority of financial abuse is perpetrated by family, friends and non-relative caregivers. Researcher Rebecca Fetters says they’re not only stealing money.

Fetters: “Personal property, real estate, vehicles, food stamps and more and more often, medication  theft is something we’re seeing an increasing amount of.”

There are cases of identity theft, and the exploitation of legal documents such as power of attorney. In Josephine, Coos and Curry counties where the abuse numbers are higher, fetters says it actually means they’re doing a better job at reporting and investigating the crimes. The study of more than 400 cases looked at people over age 65 or adults with disabilities who don’t live in a licensed care facility.

Study from the Oregon Department of Human Services Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigation