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Report: Elderly Mainers Lost At Least $28 Million In 6 Years To Exploitation

In the 6 years from 2010 to 2016, elderly Mainers lost some $28 million to financial exploitation, most at the hands of children, grandchildren or other family members, and the amount could be much, much more. That’s according to a new report produced by USM’s Muskie School of Public Service, based on an analysis of 864 cases.

The cases were handled by Maine’s Adult Protective Services and nonprofit Legal Services for the Elderly. LSE Executive Director Jaye Martin says the exploitation may happen when seniors have health problems or other stress in their lives, and family members take advantage of the situation.

“To convince the senior to sign their home over, to put people on their banking accounts or checking accounts, to take out credit cards in the person’s name,” she says. “Often these are individuals who are ultimately going to end up needing state assistance as a result of it. We definitely have seen our clients face a risk of homelessness because of this.”

Martin says, while this is a longstanding problem, it’s one that’s growing. The study indicates that reported cases account for only a small portion of actual financial exploitation, in part because many victims don’t seek help.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.