When people think of elder abuse or neglect, they may think of a vulnerable senior citizen getting physically abused while at an assisted living facility. Others may also envision a poorly staffed nursing home that is dirty and unsafe for many of its patients. However, there is another form of elder abuse and neglect that can happen even among family members who are caring for an elderly relative and even at the most polished-looking facilities. This abuse can really cut at the heart of a senior citizen, and other concerned family members, by depriving the victim of his or her life fortune and the ability to pass that legacy on to his or her loved ones.

Financial exploitation is actually a crime under Missouri law. A person commits financial exploitation should he or she use various tricks or schemes to get a senior citizen to divert the senior’s savings to the perpetrator or to someone close to the perpetrator.

A person need not lie outright to commit financial exploitation; even taking advantage of an elderly person’s vulnerability or withholding important information about a financial decision can be criminal. While law enforcement can require a perpetrator to pay restitution, there are limits to this power.

Many times, after an elderly resident of the Kansas City area has been exploited financially, the victim and his or her family will need to explore legal options through Missouri’s civil laws. Sometimes, they may be able to hold others aside from the individual perpetrator, including the nursing home facility itself, accountable for the loss. Moreover, a civil lawsuit may allow a family to claim more than just the stolen money as damages. They may, for instance, be able to claim compensation for pain and suffering and even punitive damages.