Community Initiatives: Elder Fraud & Abuse

The Prosecutor's Office is committed to vigorously prosecuting crimes against elderly citizens. Protecting our community's most vulnerable members is a top priority. That’s why we’re pleased to announce that a budget increase has led to the expansion of our Elder Abuse Unit, allowing for us to prosecute all types of cases involving elderly victims.

NEWS: Prosecutor's Office secures grant to fight elder abuse

Pierce County has been awarded $370,985 from the Department of Justice, which Deputy Prosecutor Erika Nohavec was instrumental in securing, to support a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse. The Prosecutor’s Office, which secured one of nine nationwide grants, is teaming up with local law enforcement agencies and victim service organizations to increase and strengthen training, form a community response team and access to victim services. Read more

Particularly Vulnerable Victims

These cases require special attention because of the vulnerability of the victims. The elderly are often targeted because they are trusting, have declining health and memory, and are hesitant to report abuse.
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Red Flags of Elder Abuse Flyer

Teaming Up for Justice

Our office has seen an increase in case referrals from police. This doesn't mean, though, that crimes against the elderly are on the rise. Rather, it tells us that our community awareness efforts are working. Law enforcement is better trained and equipped to respond to elder abuse, so we receive more cases to prosecute.

The Elder Abuse Unit has been building a network of professionals including doctors and nurses, financial experts and police officers, to provide assistance in their cases. The professionals contribute to a deeper level of investigation than would typically be necessary in cases involving non-elderly victims. For example, by doing an in-depth analysis of an elderly victim’s bank accounts and spending history, investigators might discover that the victim was frugal and routine with his/her money until meeting the suspect. Prosecutors can use this research to help dispute a claim by the suspect that the victim knowingly gave the suspect large sums of money.

Heavy Penalties

In a recent case, the 74-year-old defendant volunteered to serve as the protective payee for a 65-year-old developmentally disabled man after his previous payee was caught stealing. She used her position of trust to steal approximately $8,000 from the victim. Much of the money was used to pay the defendant's bills and to take a trip to Disney World. Our Elder Abuse Unit took the case to trial and the defendant received a sentence of 26 months in prison.
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Host a Presentation for your Group

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist and deputy prosecutors in the Elder Abuse Unit are available to speak to your group about preventing and responding to abuse of vulnerable adults. Please call (253)798-6265 to schedule a presentation.

Report Abuse

To report abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, call Adult Protective Services at 1-866-END-HARM (1-866-363-4276) or your local police agency's non-emergency number. In case of emergency, call 911 immediately. More information is available on our Report Abuse page.