The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit (EAU) was established within the Office of Attorney General in the fall of 2006 and conducted its first full year of operation in 2007. The primary responsibility of the Unit is to prevent, investigate, and prosecute crimes involving elderly victims of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation on a statewide basis. The Unit consists of a prosecutor and an investigator.
The Unit was created after The Commission to Study Financial Exploitation of the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities found that there were two critical concerns that warranted remedial efforts to improve the State's ability to protect the public and provide better services to elderly and disabled victims. First, the Commission found that there was a need for coordination among the various law enforcement and social service agencies that respond to and investigate cases of financial exploitation of elderly and disabled adults. Second, the Commission found that there was a need for more and better training of police officers at every level of law enforcement focusing on investigating and prosecuting financial crimes involving elderly victims.
The EAU works closely with local and state law enforcement, the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services, the Elder Abuse Advisory Council, the Incapacitated Adult Fatality Review Committee and many public and private organizations that serve New Hampshire's elders in order to protect and preserve the quality of life that our seniors expect and deserve. In 2007, the Unit collaborated with the state's Elder Abuse Advisory Council to sponsor a seminar to train criminal justice professionals, emergency medical technicians and adult protective service workers to better identify, investigate and respond to abuse against older individuals. The seminar featured keynote speaker Daniel Sheridan, a forensic wound expert and department head for Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Members of the Unit have also conducted trainings at law enforcement agencies, fire departments, hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the state.
The Unit has prosecuted cases involving physical abuse and financial exploitation such as property and identity theft, home improvement fraud, forgery, embezzlement, and fraud involving misuse of an elder's assets by a fiduciary acting under a guardianship or power of attorney. Successful criminal prosecutions resulted in jail time for many defendants, as well as the recovery of thousands of dollars in restitution for senior victims. Of particular note was the successful conviction of a woman who failed to provide her elderly, disabled mother with the proper care she needed at home that resulted in the mother's death.
The Unit, through its public outreach program, is often invited to speak to groups of seniors about the many forms of consumer fraud, with a particular emphasis on home improvement, financial exploitation, telemarketing and sweepstakes. Because one-third of New Hampshire's population is fifty years of age or older, our state is a popular target for con artists and thieves who seek out older, more trusting, and vulnerable victims. As such, the Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit seeks to raise awareness of the threat of fraud to the elder community by teaching them how to avoid being victimized and to encourage them to contact law enforcement if they have been victimized.
For more information contact:
Office of the Attorney General
Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301