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«The New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study June 15, 2016 Page 1 of 94 The New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study Yufan ...»

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To estimate victim losses, a series of projection exercises similar to those used in the Utah case studies was undertaken. As noted previously, the financial exploitation literature has focused predominately on senior populations. Estimation analyses were therefore limited to financial exploitation referrals involving clients aged 60 and older. As shown in Table 13, a total of 1,628 financial exploitation cases involving clients over the age of 60 were brought to the attention of APS in the 31 participating counties. This number included referrals received by APS but not included as part of the case review study.

Page 42 of 94 This baseline number was then multiplied by either 10 or 44 to estimate the full universe of both reported and unreported financial exploitation incidents. The selection of 10 and 44 as low and high-end multipliers mirrors the work done in Utah. The National Center on Elder Abuse (1998) estimated that only one out of every 10 financial exploitation incidents results in a referral to APS. Conversely, a 2011 study conducted in New York State (Lifespan et al., 2011) placed this ratio at closer to one in 44.

Multiplying by these low- and high-end estimates suggests that somewhere between 16,280 and 71,632 financial exploitation cases involving seniors occurred within our 31 participating districts during the case review period.

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Next, the research team estimated how many of these cases would have incurred verifiable victim losses. In the case review study, 54 percent of APS referrals involving seniors had acts of financial exploitation verified by the caseworker. Consequently, it was assumed that 54 percent of full universe cases would also result in verified victim losses. Each verified case was then assigned a fiscal value. Close examination of documented losses in the case review sample revealed considerable variability in the magnitude of the money/assets taken, with losses ranging from $17 to $1 million.

To create a balanced picture of how costs might be distributed in the full universe of reported and unreported cases, verified cases were ranked from lowest to highest on documented losses and then divided into four equally-sized groups, or quartiles. The average loss observed within each quartile was then calculated. Full universe cases were then distributed equally across these quartiles and assigned a value equal to the average loss for that quartile. Estimated victim losses were then calculated using the following formula: Estimated Incidents x Verification Rate x Average Loss.

As shown in Table 14, findings suggest that within the 31 participating districts the total monetary value of assets taken from seniors within a single 12-month period may have ranged from a low of $352 million to a high of $1.5 billion.

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Summary The current study makes several significant contributions to the existing financial exploitation literature. First, unlike earlier studies relying on modest sample sizes, the New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study identified and coded over 900 APS financial exploitation referrals to generate a rich array of information on multiple types of fiscal impacts. These referrals provide a solid base for exploring individual and community losses. As shown in the summary table above, incidents of financial exploitation represent a substantial personal and public burden. Within a single 12month period, known incidents of financial exploitation cost New York State citizens and communities between $27.3 and $124 million in personal losses and public expenditures. Moreover, exploratory analyses aimed at capturing unreported cases suggest that prior efforts to quantify victim losses may have grossly underestimated the magnitude of losses experienced by financial exploitation victims.

As noted previously, MetLife (The MetLife Mature Market Institute, 2009; 2011) estimated victim losses nationwide to be around $2.9 billion. In the current study, estimated annual losses for seniors in a subsample of New York State districts fell between $352 million to $1.5 billion, suggesting the national total may be substantially higher than previously estimated.

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 The cost to APS and other agencies of investigation, assessment and other activities resulting from financial exploitation;

 The cost of providing new and additional public benefits and services to APS victims as a result of financial exploitation;

 The cost of funds and other property stolen.

The study’s estimate of costs of victim losses (as much as $1.5 billion annually in New York State alone) is significant because it strongly suggests that the national cost of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is much higher than estimated in most previous reports.

In 2008, the MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse estimated (through a media and literature review) that the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse nationally was at least $2.6 billion annually. In 2011, MetLife updated its estimate to a national cost of at least $2.9 billion. This estimate of $2.9 billion as the national cost of financial exploitation is still widely cited by the media, as well as by the National Center on Elder Abuse and the U.S. Department of Justice. The New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study, based on a review of actual APS cases rather than a media and literature review, strongly suggests that the national annual cost of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is far greater than previously reported.

This study has also provided key new baseline information about the characteristics of victims and perpetrators of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults, and about outcomes following a referral to APS.

It is hoped that the data will serve to enlarge the body of knowledge in New York State and elsewhere about the costs of financial exploitation, the characteristics of victims and perpetrators and case outcomes. We also hope that data will serve to inform future decisions to be made about allocation of resources for prevention and intervention in such cases.

The following Recommendations for Next Steps, based on this study, include enhancement of efforts to recognize, prevent and report financial exploitation of vulnerable adults, and to intervene to protect victims and address the actions of perpetrators.

1. Additional research studies on the fiscal impacts of financial exploitation in New York State and nationwide are needed.

Page 46 of 94 Many of the fiscal consequences presented in the current study are exploratory estimates that merit further testing. Despite an impressive sample size, not all eligible referrals within participating districts were coded and selected cases represent a single window of time. It is therefore possible that documented costs would be greater, or less, than adjusted estimates suggest, had a broader array of cases and timeframes been included. Similarly, statewide estimates assume that the county matching criteria used were sufficient to identify districts with similar types of financial exploitation incidents and system responses. However, districts were not matched on several potentially influential variables, such as size and nature of the vulnerable adult population, community culture, and service infrastructure. It is therefore likely that the prevalence and magnitude of financial exploitation incidents may have differed substantially across matched counties, altering costs. Future research should seek to address these limitations.

2. Existing state data collection systems should be expanded to include standardized fields for reporting financial exploitation elements and costs.

It is important that the types of information collected for this study on the costs of financial exploitation, demographic characteristics, and outcomes not be a one-timeonly event, but a baseline for future reporting. It is important to look for ways to incorporate this type of reporting into existing APS systems and to encourage other systems to collect similar information. To do this, APS and its partners need better tools to help organize the collection and review of financial documents.

New York State has already begun this work, using funds from a recent U.S.

Administration for Community Living grant received as part of the State Grants to

Enhance Adult Protective Services program. OCFS intends to use grant funds to:

 Develop a new forensic tool in conjunction with a forensic accountant/financial fraud expert to assist local APS in the collection, organization and review of financial documents as part of an APS financial exploitation investigation.

 Provide APS with access to a forensic accountant/financial fraud expert to assist in the analysis of complex financial exploitation cases for use in potential criminal and/or civil proceedings or otherwise to document the financial exploitation.

 Enhance the APS case recording and reporting systems in New York State (OCFS’s ASAP.Net and NYC’s APS.Net) to incorporate new reportable data fields to capture the costs of financial exploitation; key victim and perpetrator characteristics and case outcomes, as well as to conform to the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System, the new federal data system for APS.

3. Training opportunities for APS workers should be expanded.

Page 47 of 94 The fact that 49 percent of study referrals included clients with physical impairments and 54 percent of referrals included clients with mental impairments and/or dementia points out the need for continued and enhanced training for APS workers and other investigators on the characteristics of these populations and how best to interview and serve such persons. Similarly, the fact that at least 20 percent of referrals included clients identified as black or Hispanic indicates a need for APS workers and other service providers to have additional training on diversity/cultural competency issues.

4. Expand the use of Multidisciplinary teams.

As study findings demonstrate, financial exploitation has devastating effects on individuals and communities. New approaches to preventing, assessing, and serving vulnerable adults are needed to decrease incidents and improve service delivery for those impacted. Multidisciplinary teams are a promising approach that has been shown to result in better protection of vulnerable adults, more prosecutions, and more civil actions.

OCFS is a state partner with the New York State Office for the Aging in the Elder Abuse Prevention Interventions grant funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living to establish and operate Enhanced Multidisciplinary Teams (E-MDTs) in Manhattan and the Finger Lakes region, focusing on prevention and intervention in cases of financial exploitation of vulnerable elderly persons.

OCFS encourages and promotes the development of multidisciplinary teams focusing on suspected abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults across the state, sharing resources and best practices. Promotion of such MDTs is a frequent theme of OCFS trainings.

5. Encourage victims to seek help

The fact that family members or spouses/partners were named as perpetrators in over 60 percent of APS referrals, and that many victims refuse to press charges against such perpetrators, suggests the need for creative approaches to stop the financial exploitation (and other abuse or neglect that may be co-occurring) and to provide alternatives to incarceration that may encourage victims to seek help for family perpetrators and at the same time stop the financial exploitation and other abuse.

6. Encourage additional training resources for law enforcement Many of the cases referred by APS to law enforcement do not result in arrest or prosecution, demonstrating a need for additional training and resources for police, sheriffs and prosecutors on financial crimes against vulnerable adults.

7. Encourage additional training resources for financial institutions and fiduciaries.

Page 48 of 94 The OCFS Bureau of Adult Services has developed, arranged, and presented, often with other state and local partners, and in conjunction with associations of financial professionals, several trainings of financial professionals on the topic of recognition, prevention, and reporting of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults (see Appendix A.).

However, more needs to be done to provide trainings of both financial institutions and of fiduciaries who are responsible for managing funds on behalf of their clients.

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Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, Hunter College, CUNY (n.d.). Broken Trust:

Financial exploitation and power of attorney abuse. Retrieved from http://www.brookdale.org/brookdale-assets/tools-and-resources/broken-trust.pdf

Choi, M.G., Kulick, D, B, and Mayer, J. (1999). Financial exploitation of elders:

Analysis of risk factors based on county adult protective services data. Journal of Adult Abuse & Neglect, 10, 39-62.

Coker, J., & B. Little (1997). Investing in the Future: Protecting the Elderly From Financial Abuse. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 66, 1-5.

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