Delaware DOJ Consumer Protection Unit Selected To Host Law Enforcement Training On Financial Exploitation Of Seniors

The Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit has been selected as one of 8 jurisdictions around the country to host a training for law enforcement on preventing, investigating and prosecuting financial exploitation of senior citizens.

The training, put on by the National White Collar Crime Center and the United States Department of Justice, will allow for 100 area law enforcement officers to learn effective ways to respond to complex elder fraud cases. The training is expected to be held in Wilmington in April 2018.

“A primary goal of the Delaware Department of Justice is to protect Delawareans from harm, and seniors are one of our most valuable yet most vulnerable populations,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “Those who prey on the elderly need to be caught and punished for their crimes, so I’m honored and proud that we have been selected to provide local law enforcement with this opportunity. I want to thank and congratulate Deputy Attorney General Gina Schoenberg, head of our office’s Senior Protection Initiative, and Chief Special Investigator Alan Rachko for their work on the application and identifying the proper mix of officers to participate.”

In addition to Delaware, other jurisdictions selected by USDOJ for the training are: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Denmark, Tennessee; Topeka, Kansas; Hidalgo County, Texas; Columbia, South Carolina; Ada, Oklahoma; and King County, Washington.

National studies conclude that nearly 10 percent of older Americans have experienced some form of financial exploitation or fraud in the past year at a financial loss estimated in the billions of dollars, with some experts asserting that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse.

Prosecutors Secure Sentence For Theft From Vulnerable Family Members

Other defendants face probation and convictions for financial exploitation and armed robbery

Attorneys with the Delaware Department of Justice recently obtained several criminal convictions and sentences:

Alethea Davis-Moses, 46, of Chester, Pennsylvania pled guilty to Financial Exploitation of a Patient in a case handled by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Barchi and Special Investigator Joe Trala. Davis-Moses was a caretaker who withdrew $500 from a resident of a group home without the resident’s consent. The court sentenced Davis-Moses to $500 of restitution, to one year of prison suspended to a year of probation, and ordered to have no contact with the victim or nursing home.

Christopher Szymanski, 45, of Wilmington, faces court-ordered completion of a drug treatment program and probation along with several additional orders secured by Deputy Attorney General Renee Hrivnak on the charges of Theft Felony and Crime Against a Vulnerable Adult, Theft from Senior and Forgery 2nd. Over the course of a year, Szymanski stole checks from his elderly mother and his autistic brother, forged them and cashed them, resulting in over $20,000 from his brother and over $6,000 from his mother. The court sentenced Szymanski to 8 years Level V prison but suspended it upon successful completion of a Level V drug treatment program for 6 months Level IV, followed by a year of Level III probation. Defendant was ordered to undergo substance abuse and mental health evaluations, be monitored by TASC, have no contact with the victims or his co-defendant, and to pay restitution to his brother and a bank.

Deputy Attorney General Christina Kontis secured a guilty plea from Joseph Rosado, 22, of Wilmington. to one count of Robbery 1st Degree, two counts of Robbery 2nd Degree, one count of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony and one count of Reckless Endangering 1st Degree stemming from a series of robberies where defendant brandished a firearm and demanded money. Sentencing is scheduled for October 7, 2016.