In a Continuation of Their Efforts to Protect Seniors from Exploitation, Aging Committee Chairman Collins and Ranking Member McCaskill to Unveil Report on Elder Financial Abuse

The GAO report, which was requested by Sens. Collins and McCaskill, identifies several recent cases of guardianship abuse and assesses the current risk to seniors

Hearing scheduled for Wednesday, November 30th, at 2:30 p.m. in Dirksen 562

Click HERE to watch live

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, will hold a hearing on Wednesday, November 30th, titled, “Trust Betrayed: Financial Abuse of Older Americans by Guardians and Others in Power." During the hearing, the Committee will unveil a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report requested by Chairman Collins and Ranking Member McCaskill on guardianship abuse.

In addition to robbing seniors of their hard-earned savings, financial abuse of older adults often puts seniors’ health and safety at risk. The scope of this form of exploitation is broad and can be perpetrated by a range of fiduciaries, such as a court-appointed guardian, a family member with power of attorney privileges, or a senior’s personal attorney. In addition, senior financial abuse can be committed by “friends” or family members who are handling the victim’s affairs informally.

The GAO’s report builds on a previous study it released in 2010, which found hundreds of cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and identified $5.4 million that had been improperly diverted. The updated report, which will be released for the first time at the Aging Committee’s hearing, assesses several states’ progress to improve data on guardianships and increase oversight of the guardianship process. The report also analyzes several recent cases of guardianship abuse and provides recommendations on steps that can be taken to protect seniors.

Witnesses for the hearing will include:

  • Kathryn Larin, Acting Director, Forensic Audit and Investigative Services Team, U.S. Government Accountability Office, (Washington, D.C.)
  • Cate Boyko, Manager, Minnesota Conservator Account Auditing Program, (Ramsey, MN)
  • Jaye Martin, Executive Director, Maine Legal Services for the Elderly, (Augusta, ME)
  • Jessica Kruse, Attorney, Ozarks Elder Law, (Springfield, MO)