This blog has reported in the past about the apparent rise in financial exploitation of vulnerable adults in Minnesota by unscrupulous businesses. A recent case involving a Minneapolis coin dealer shows how brazen some of these businesses can be.
The coin dealer pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering in federal court after an investigation of his company’s misuse of funds. According to prosecutors, the man’s company earned $24 million a year, mostly from elderly people contacted over the phone.
The man’s business would arrange deals with clients in which they would give him money to buy coins as safe investments in a rocky economy. In court, he admitted that in some cases, he and his sales staff would then take that money and spend it on themselves. An affidavit from his divorce described the man as a pathological gambler. In fact, he spent the money at casinos in Minnesota and Las Vegas. He now faces 10 years or more in prison, though he is reportedly cooperating in an effort to reduce his sentence.
The elderly are frequently targeted for financial exploitation by criminals and unscrupulous businesses. Sometimes the problem doesn’t become apparent until after the person’s death, when the heir or beneficiary find that his or her inheritance has become compromised. However, in cases where these situations are discovered during the life of the testator, action can be taken to protect physical and financial well-being for the benefit of all.
Exploitation of elderly people can be difficult, as it can sometimes involve people close to the person including family or friends. However, when it is necessary, heirs and beneficiaries may take legal action to help remedy the problem and protect the assets for future distribution.
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “Minneapolis coin dealer admits fraud scheme,” Dan Browning, Feb. 22, 2013