DA Krasner and Community Partners Announce Department of Justice Grant for Elder Justice Task Force

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PHILADELPHIA (August 29, 2022) — Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and four Philadelphia-based nonprofit and legal advocacy organizations announced today that the Department of Justice Office of Victims and Crime awarded a $375,000 grant to develop a groundbreaking collaboration over three years that brings together professionals from medicine, law enforcement, victim and legal services, to improve access to justice for elderly Philadelphia residents who are victims of financial abuse.

Seniors are increasingly one of the most prevalent demographic groups for economic victimization. One in ten older Americans has experienced financial or material abuse at a cost of more than $36.5 billion per year, according to National Council on Aging. Financial abuse ranges from forging signatures and cashing checks without an older adult’s consent, to coercing a will, to outright theft of property, and more. The perpetrators are often family members.

The Philadelphia Multidisciplinary Elder Abuse Team (PEAMDT) mission is multiple: the PEAMDT will strengthen the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) ability to investigate and ultimately prosecute crimes involving the financial abuse of seniors. Specifically, part of the grant enabled the DAO to hire a Coordinator for Victims of Elder Abuse who will oversee the PEAMDT. This funding also supports a DAO Forensic accountant which investigates cases of financial abuse of the elderly.

In addition to expanding the DAO’s ability to hold authors accountable, this important grant will allow organizations such as Penn Memory Center, Center for the Defense of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE), SeniorLAW Centerand the Philadelphia Society for Aging (PCA), to educate older residents about financial abuse and connect them to life-saving legal and victim support resources. This collaboration will provide assistance to older people that includes prosecution and restitution, medical expertise, civil legal assistance, specialized victim support services for older people, housing assistance and protective services. . PEAMDT partners will also use grant money to pay their staff to attend monthly team meetings and training sessions, among other elder-focused advocacy work.

“In this important effort, there is a balance between necessary enforcement and necessary prevention,” said DA Krasner. “Perpetrators of this type of crime often thrive on compassion, concern and immediacy. Concretely, it will be up to neighbors and friends, adult children, other seniors, that is to say all of us, to help protect our seniors from the many scams and scams that occur regularly. I strongly encourage the public, if they suspect a crime against an elderly person is occurring, to contact the authorities. We can do a lot, but we cannot do it alone.

“It gives me great joy to announce the expansion of the DAO Elder Justice Unit,” said DAO First Assistant Carolyn Temin, which spearheaded the creation of the PEAMDT. “Thanks to this grant, we are now able to expand the services available to senior victims of crime. Too often, these victims have other unmet needs that they are unable to meet. This team will not only be able to help secure justice through prosecution, but also address some of the underlying reasons why these crimes are happening in the first place.

“The overall goal of this initiative is to address the significant and growing problem of financial abuse of older adults in Philadelphia,” said Assistant District Attorney Alexander Blumenthal, DAO Elder Justice Unit Supervisor. “Seniors are vulnerable for a multitude of reasons. These types of cases often present complex issues that no single agency can solve on its own. This partnership will go a long way in preventing future victimization and helping the DAO achieve justice for seniors in Philadelphia.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a sharp increase in the frequency of financial abuse of older adults,” said Shani Gilmore, executive long-term care administrator for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. “PCA wholeheartedly supports this collaborative mission, and we look forward to working with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in the weeks and months to come in order to strengthen our seniors’ access to justice and to the remedies necessary to regain their dignity.

“For 45 years, CARIE has existed to promote the well-being, rights and independence of older adults, including victim services and support for older Philadelphians who have found themselves victims of crime and abuse,” said declared Mariel Lorenz, a Supervisor at the Center for the Defense of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE). “We look forward to working as part of this team to help support our seniors who have given so much to our communities. »

“As Chairman of the Philadelphia City Council Aging and Intergenerational Affairs CommitteeI know how necessary this collaborative effort is for our seniors,” said Board Member Kendra Brooks, At-Large. “We now have an incredible opportunity to protect some of our most vulnerable residents, and I thank all the partners who have come together to make this a reality.”

To report suspected elder financial abuse to PEAMDT, call the task force hotline: 215-686-5710.

CONTACT:Dustin Slaughter, 215-686-8713, [email protected]

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest district attorney’s office in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the nation. It serves more than 1.5 million residents of the city and county of Philadelphia, employing 600 attorneys, detectives and support staff. The district attorney’s office is responsible for prosecuting approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.

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