Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Their Role in Investigations of Elder Financial Exploitation

LORI: Hello, everyone. Welcome to this Elder
Justice Initiative Webinar, Suspicious Activity
Reports and Their Role in Investigations of
Elder Financial Exploitation. As with all technology, we
may at some point experience a momentary lapse in
the webinar session. In the event of a
problem, please just be patient and remain with us and the
webinar should resume shortly. We do want to pause
and take a moment here to see that
everyone is connected. So if you are having
a technical problem, please type a
private chat message to the technical
specialist, Jason, in the chat box
on the lower right. You can also access him by
emailing [email protected] if for some reason you
can’t use the chat feature. If you have questions that
come up throughout the webinar just keep in mind
that we will be providing some contact information
towards the end of the webinar, so you can follow up on
those questions and reach out. I do want to note that we
are recording today’s session. It’s going to be made available on the OVC TTAC Training website
and the Elder Justice website following the webinar. As you may know, EJI has put
together a series of webinars for various audiences
that work in the field of elder abuse and justice, and so for that
reason we record these and make those available
as part of the resources available on the two websites. At this time we’re going to turn
things over to Rich Goldberg. He’s Senior Counsel
for Complex Litigation from the Department of Justice’s
Consumer Protection Branch. Rich, it’s all yours. RICH: Great.
Thanks very much, Lori. So this is Rich Goldberg, again with the
Department of Justice, Consumer Protection Branch. Welcome to today’s webinar
on Suspicious Activity Reports and Their Role in Investigations of Elder Financial Exploitation. It looks like
from the chat screen we have people from
all over the country. Very excited to get started and share this terrific
panel today with everybody. I’ll talk for a moment about
the Elder Justice Initiative. The mission is to
support and coordinate the Department of
Justice’s enforcement and programmatic
efforts to combat elder abuse,
neglect, and financial fraud and scams that
target older adults. The Initiative does so by promoting justice
for older Americans, helping older
victims and their families, enhancing state
and local efforts through training and resources, and supporting
research to improve elder abuse policy and practice. One of the ways the
Elder Justice Initiative gets its work done is through the website at
the site that is featured above at There are a variety
of different resources that are
available on the website. There’s
information on elder abuse, including financial
and physical abuse. It’s separated into
a variety of sections for law
enforcement, prosecutors, relatives and caregivers,
researchers, and others. There are sample court filings,
community presentations. It’s really a treasure
trove of useful information if you have a role
in working to protect older Americans
from abuse and fraud. So I encourage
everybody to take a look and see what there may
be on the site for you. So let’s get to today’s panel. There are a
variety of presenters that hopefully
you’ll find very useful. We at the Department of Justice,
Consumer Protection Branch make very extensive use of SARs, including the
focused cases that we have to protect elderly
seniors in America. So let’s turn to
those presenters. There’s Naomi Karp,
first, from the CFPB. Naomi is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Office for
Older Americans at CFPB. Next we’ll hear
from John Williams, Chief, Training and
Outreach from FinCEN in the U.S.
Department of the Treasury. Next we’ll go to
Peter Gallagher, Deputy Attorney
General — Prosecutor, the New Jersey
Division of Criminal Justice, Financial and
Computer Crimes Bureau. Jenefer Duane, she’s next. She’s a Senior Program Analyst for the Office of
Older Americans at CFPB. So at this point why
don’t we turn to a poll before we get
started with Naomi. We’d like to take
a poll of the folks that are on the webinar today. And you’ll see the poll
expanding in your screen there. If you could answer the poll. The question: Before
today, who knew that SARs, Suspicious
Activity Reports, are filed with the Financial Crimes
Enforcement Network or FinCEN regarding elder
financial exploitation? Please answer, yes, I
knew, no, I didn’t know. And we’ll take just a couple
of minutes to see the results. And it looks like a majority
of people did know that elder financial exploitation
SARs are filed with FinCEN. So that’s definitely helpful
for us to know as presenters, but it may also
allow the folks online to know where they stand. So let’s take a look at the next
poll question, if we could. And the question is,
do you currently use SARs as a tool to investigate
elder financial exploitation? Please go ahead and vote yes,
no, or not applicable to me. And so, again, folks on the
line can see where they stand. About a third is yes,
about 15 percent is no, and about 50 percent
is not applicable to me. So at this time why
don’t we move on to Naomi. So I’ll let Naomi
take it away from here. NAOMI: Great.
Thanks so much, Rich. And I have just really
enjoyed seeing everyone earlier on reporting in from where
they are all over the country. It’s really got my
juices flowing here, and happy to get into this. So, since you’re all out
there across the country, this is what I look like. As Rich said I’m at the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau. This is, because
we’re a government agency, our disclaimer. The presentation
is being made by, it’s actually
two representatives of the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau, and you see the
rest of the disclaimer. So moving along, let me tell you just a tiny bit about the CFPB. We are actually essentially
a brand-new government agency. We were created after
the 2008 financial crisis to protect consumers in the
consumer financial marketplace. So when we talk about consumer
financial products and services, which is what we
have jurisdiction over, we are talking
about everything from banking, credit cards and
mortgages, debt collection, payday lending,
student loans, and so forth. And that gives
you the flavor of it. Our agency has a number
of different functions. So we empower consumers
by creating tools and tips to help consumers
navigate financial choices. We have a strong
regulatory, supervisory, and enforcement
function, so we write rules, we supervise banks
and other entities, we bring enforcement actions, we have returned billions of
dollars to harmed consumers, and we educate people through financial education
and publishing research. So why are we here on
a webinar about SARs? Well, we have an
office for older Americans. When Congress created our agency they thought there
were certain populations that needed a little bit of
extra protection and education. And older
Americans is one of them. We cover really
two buckets of issues. The first,
preventing unfair, deceptive, and abusive
practices aimed at seniors. We interpret that very broadly as all types of
financial exploitation, which we will get
into a little bit more. And then the
second bucket of issues is about helping older people
make sound financial decisions as they age on everything
from how to handle debt, when to claim social security, what to do with home
equity, and so forth. But today we’re
focusing really on that financial
exploitation piece. So I know you all hear
about this all the time, the aging of the Boomers,
how people are living longer. This graph is just giving
you a little bit of information about population trends. And you can see that the
number of older consumers, 62 and over, is expected to
grow to 96.7 million in 2050. So the older population
is really increasing. Ten thousand adults
turn 62 years old every day. And the reason we
use 62 is because that’s our
office’s statutory mandate. So moving on, just so
we’re all on the same page, what is elder
financial exploitation? There are many
different definitions of them in federal law and
state criminal codes and state adult protective
services law and so forth. We like to use a
very simple definition: the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s
funds, property, or assets. It is the most
common form of elder abuse, more so than physical
abuse, emotional abuse, and all of the other types. But only a very small fraction
of incidents are reported. One study showed
that for every case that is reported to an
agency that can help a victim, 43 go unreported. So that’s really
under the radar. Perpetrators can be anyone, as
you can see from the slide — from those closest to a person, the son who
lives in the basement, the next-door
neighbor, the caregiver, to total strangers who could
be thousands of miles away in another
country, the scammers. And we are talking today about both types of
financial exploitation — by trusted individuals
and those strangers. Older people are
attractive targets, because they do
have significant assets or equity in their home. They are also very vulnerable
for a number of reasons. They may be very isolated. Cognitive decline is a big
one; people who get dementia, Alzheimer’s, other
types of cognitive decline make them
particularly vulnerable, and also they lack the judgment to tell whether
something is a fraud or a scam. So what are some red flags for
elder financial exploitation? Before I go into
those, I want to note that the information on
this slide is mainly drawn from an advisory that
FinCEN put out in 2011. And this was a very
important document. It told all of
the types of filers, financial institutions that
have an obligation to file SARs, that the SAR may
be used to report suspected elder
financial exploitation. It talked about what is
elder financial exploitation, what are some red
flags, and how to file a SAR. So this really raised
the profile of the issue for the financial
services industry. And as you can see
here we’ve grouped them, and FinCEN did as well, grouped them into two
types of, sets of red flags. The first are what I
would call behavioral. Things that if you
were a teller in a bank or someone else
on the front line, you might see
from your interactions with older adults or caregivers. Someone coming in
with a new best friend, an older person
coming in with a third party who doesn’t allow them
to speak for themselves. Someone saying oh,
I won the lottery and I need to wire $5,000
so I can get my prize. Those kinds of things. And then others are
the account activity, large increases in activity, uncharacteristic
things like ATM use. I always give the example
of if a 20-something-year-old went to an ATM machine at
3:00 in the morning on a Sunday you wouldn’t necessarily
think anything of it. But for an
85-year-old who’s living in an assisted living facility,
that looks pretty unusual. Abrupt changes to
financial documents and other atypical transactions. So let’s talk just briefly about some of the
things that our agency along with other
federal agencies have done to
address the problem. We were hearing for years that many financial
institutions and their staff were hesitant to report
suspected elder exploitation to authorities such as
Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, other agencies,
because of privacy laws. And privacy laws
clearly are very important, and there are state privacy laws and there are
federal privacy laws, and one of those
federal privacy laws is called the
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. And there are
actually eight different federal regulatory agencies that have some jurisdiction
under this federal privacy law. So we got together
with seven other agencies and in 2013 we put out guidance to all of the different
types of financial institutions that are impacted
by that privacy law, clarifying that reporting
financial abuse of older adults to appropriate authorities,
like APS, like law enforcement, does not generally
violate the privacy provisions of that federal law. There are specific exceptions
to those privacy requirements. They are for things
like preventing fraud, complying with a
state or federal law that could be a state
mandatory reporting law, responding to an ongoing civil
or criminal investigation. So we really wanted to give
financial institutions comfort that they can,
and indeed should, report elder
financial exploitation. And we’ve been going around speaking to them
ever since about this. So what did our
agency do after that? We really saw
financial institutions, and we were focused particularly
on banks and credit unions, as so well-positioned to
spot, detect, in many ways, elder financial exploitation and then respond to it
and hopefully prevent it or at least mitigate the harm. So we spent over a year talking
to financial institutions, banks and credit
unions of all sizes, their trade associations,
law enforcement folks like you, APS folks like some of
you who may be on the phone, and others to learn
about what are they doing, what are the
challenges they see, what do they need help with? And we put together a
set of best practices for those financial institutions to prevent and respond to
elder financial exploitation. It’s not a
regulatory compliance thing, it is a set of best
practices to help them, to help them look
at what they are doing and measure it
against some of the practices that we told them about. We put that out in 2016. We had a webinar like
this shortly afterwards. We had over
1,000 representatives of financial
institutions on there. So this is of
great interest to them and we continue to
get out there on this. I don’t have time to go into
all of those recommendations. These are kind of the six
different categories of things that we tell them about. I hope I’m whetting your
appetite to find this document. It’s on our website, I will flag one of the areas was reporting to law enforcement
and Adult Protective Services. We talk about filing SARs, whether it’s
mandatory or voluntary. And John will go into
that in a few minutes. And responding
promptly to document requests when law enforcement or
Adult Protective Services is investigating. So now I’ll get
to my final slide, which is kind of the heart and
the trigger for today’s webinar. In August of
this year we issued, along with FinCEN and the
Department of the Treasury, FinCEN’s parent department, a joint memorandum on
financial institution and law enforcement efforts to combat elder
financial exploitation. And we had
several things in mind that we were
trying to convey here. We wanted to hone our key
messages for law enforcement, financial institutions,
and other stakeholders such as Adult
Protective Services, other senior service providers. First, it highlights the key
role of financial institutions. And you’ve already
heard me talk about that. And again we talk
to them about ensuring they know that filing SARs
on elder financial exploitation is appropriate and
indeed recommended. And in addition,
reporting directly to law enforcement
in their jurisdiction and to their Adult
Protective Services agencies. Secondly, we
encourage collaboration among these key stakeholders, financial institutions,
law enforcement, and APS. And Jenefer will talk a little
more about collaboration. But it is key for
sharing information about each other’s
policies and procedures, having a point of contact
at each other’s agencies, working together in
multidisciplinary networks for a variety of things.
That was our second message. And finally, for law enforcement we again explain the
use of SARs in these cases. Law enforcement
may know about SARs but may not know that there
are many thousands of SARs filed on elder
financial exploitation, that SARs can both
trigger an investigation and support an
ongoing investigation. It explains the
restrictions on access and use of SARs that both
John and Peter will discuss. And it tells law enforcement how
to make a SAR-related inquiry. And this is key and we’re
all going to stress this today: Appropriate law enforcement
entities may be able to access the SARs and the
supporting documentation, and it tells
them how to go about getting information
about accessing SARs. So that is our setup here, and now I’d like to
turn it over to John to go into a little more depth. JOHN: Hi. John Williams here, from the Chief of Training
and Outreach Section of FinCEN, U.S. Department of Treasury. So the Bank Secrecy Act, or BSA, it was enacted
by Congress in 1970 to fight money laundering
and other financial crimes. The BSA requires many
financial institutions to create paper
trails by keeping records and filing reports on
certain transactions. We look at this as
the nation’s first and most comprehensive
anti-money laundering statute, a series of reporting and
record-keeping requirements to document suspicious
or large cash transactions. It’s a powerful
tool for preventing corruption of the United
States financial system. What is a
Suspicious Activity Report? It’s a mandatory filing
by a financial institution to report
suspicious transactions. In 2013, FinCEN implemented
an electronic reporting form that contains a checkbox so filers can specify
that a suspicious transaction concerns elder
financial exploitation. And I have a graph
here, so it shows trends in the elder
financial exploitation SARs. So you see in
2012 it was very low, and so far of 2017
it’s up over 56,000 SARs filed on this one subject. Who files SARs? Depository institutions; all
your banks and credit unions; money service businesses;
securities, broker/dealers, mutual funds and futures;
your insurance companies; casinos; mortgage companies; loan or finance
companies, payday lenders; dealers of precious
metals, stones, or jewels. All these people file SARs. SAR filings are mandatory according to the
following filing thresholds. So we have $2,500 for MSBs. We have $5,000 for all
filers for a known subject, $25,000 for all filers
for any unknown subjects. All filers may also
file SARs voluntarily for a suspicious transaction
of any dollar amount. So it can be for $10. If the bank or the
casino feels it’s suspicious, they can file a SAR. Law enforcement use of SARs. A user may use FinCEN
data obtained via a SAR consistent with the
agency’s legal authority and for the purpose of
identification, investigation, or prosecution of
possible or actual violations of criminal law that fall within
the agency’s jurisdictions. We do not allow casual browsing. Casual browsing of
the portal to run a query on anyone not related to an
investigation is not permitted. Law enforcement personnel
may use information obtained from a SAR in connection
with an official investigation. FinCEN has agreements with
law enforcement in every state, as well as most federal
law enforcement agencies. We have a State or
an Agency Coordinator with every agency in the country that has direct
access to our data. SARs are very sensitive. They may not be used in an
affidavit to support a warrant, given to anyone
outside of the investigation, disclosed in discovery
or in a press release. Generally cannot be
used in open court. Safeguarding the
confidentiality of SARs is especially important because
they describe suspected, not proven, illegal activity. We have a couple
U.S. code sections for unauthorized disclosure of SARs
is a violation of federal law. The first one is 31 U.S. Code Section 5321 for
Civil Penalties. This is also a Criminal Penalty, 31 U.S. Code Section 5322 that
covers the criminal violations. Supporting documentation
may be referenced in a SAR. Supporting
documents can be requested without a subpoena
by law enforcement. Potential to connect the dots
between subjects and victims. It can be a proactive
tool for early intervention and loss
prevention for the elderly. So if anybody out there is a
law enforcement investigator, if you have a question on the
use and disclosure of a SAR, you can contact the
FinCEN Resource Center at [email protected] We will be glad
to put you in touch with the law enforcement
contact in your state. That’s it for John Williams. PETER: Okay, good
afternoon, everyone. My name is Peter Gallagher. I am a prosecutor with
the Attorney General’s office in the great
state of New Jersey. And I am now going to talk
to you further about SARs. How is a SAR created? Well, John
touched on some of this, but let’s go over it again. It’s important. Financial institutions in
certain industries are required to file a SAR when they detect
a known or suspected violation of federal law or regulation or a suspicious activity
relating to money laundering, terrorist financing, or
other criminal activity. So there’s a lot
of useful information for law enforcement in all SARs. Today we’re concentrating on
elder financial exploitation. So that’s why this
slide is highlighted with other criminal activity. Elder financial exploitation
will fall under that category. Sometimes when reviewing SARs, if the bank didn’t
check off a little block for elder
financial exploitation, you’d have to read
through it to find out what’s really going on there. Okay. This next slide here, practical considerations
for law enforcement use of SARs in criminal
investigation prosecution. This is sort of an outline here of what I’m going to talk
about in the next few minutes. How law
enforcement obtains a SAR, we’re going to reiterate
the confidentiality of SARs, how it’s important that that
information not be disclosed, the fact patterns that
can be found within SARs, and let the SARs be with you. A little Star Wars reference with the latest
movie coming up there. They can guide you, they
can guide your investigation. SARs is an
investigative road map. The use of subpoena power, and if all goes well for your use of SARs in
your investigation, they will help you
to charge your case. How does law
enforcement obtain a SAR? Well, essentially
there’s two ways. There’s
reactively they attain it or proactively they go get it. So in the reactive category, financial institution contacts
a law enforcement agency with SAR notification. Those of you that
have familiarity with this will know that there is
a block also on the SAR that would
indicate law enforcement has been notified by
the financial institution. In my experience that
does happen but not often for reasons that we
probably won’t go into here. So what does that
leave us with proactively? Law enforcement can
initiate a FinCEN query after a criminal
investigation is open. In other words,
your agency has already some information on an
individual, a target, a suspect. You’ve already opened a
criminal investigation, and therefore you would want to
go to your agency coordinator and do a FinCEN
query on that target to try to get more information to see if in fact
there are SARs already filed for this individual, indicating that there is some
suspicious activity going on. The other proactive
use is a SAR review team where law enforcement
reviews SARs actively, looking for incidences of
elder financial exploitation. Perhaps your agency
has a task force set up specifically targeting
this type of activity. So that would be an example of a
proactive use of a review team or maybe a task force
proactively reviewing SARs. Again, just to reiterate,
unauthorized disclosure of SARs, as John mentioned, is a
violation of federal law. If you have any
question about this use of SAR, am I using it
properly, [inaudible], please reach out to FinCEN and please get back to your
agency coordinator for guidance. Okay. The fact
patterns within the SARs. So in any case of
elder financial exploitation where you have a SAR,
it’s telling you a story and anyone that’s familiar
with the SARs notice that they are generally always well
written, tell narrative stories, almost reads like an
investigative report because in many cases it is, it’s prepared by a
trained investigator. And what’s that
investigator looking for? Well, erratic or
unusual banking transactions, frequent large withdrawals,
including from ATMs, debit transactions in an inconsistent
pattern for the elder, wire transfers in
large sums of money, cashier’s checks is another one. And again as Naomi talked about
earlier, it’s just patterns, you’re looking for
patterns that you wouldn’t expect an elder to do. Just frequent trips to the bank, trips with other
persons to the bank. Frequent use of ATM, every
other day or what have you, and large sums of money. Transfers within accounts,
from one account to another. These types of things. Okay. We talk about SARs as an investigative road
map in connecting the dots. It’s really all there for you. All you have to do
is go look for it, the who, what, when, where, I could add how
to the slide here. You’re going to get individuals’
bank account numbers. A pattern of activity that
the investigator will put forth and highlight as, this
looks very suspicious to me. I like to use the Sesame
Street reference, you know, which one of these
things doesn’t belong. Well, what doesn’t
belong is to expect to see in an elder’s bank
account cash withdrawals of large sums of money
— 10,000, 20,000, 25,000, cashier’s checks,
this type of thing. It will all be there for you. Again it is an
investigative road map and it will lead you
in the right direction. And the right direction
is here, the subpoena power. Any good prosecutor knows how
powerful the subpoena power is. Just go get it. Go issue the
subpoenas for the bank records. You want to look at
the elder’s accounts, any suspects that
might be mentioned. And then after you get
the initial subpoena returns, you’re probably going
to issue more subpoenas for related
entities or other things that present themselves during
the course of the investigation. The old adage in any
financial crime, which elder financial exploitation
certainly is in this context, it’s just follow the money. It will lead you to
where you need to go in charging your case. So you have the SAR,
you have the details, your detective has it, your prosecutor’s
looking at these things, you’ve issued subpoenas, you’ve done great
investigative work. Now what? Well, you’re ready
to charge your case. And usually in the elder
financial exploitation cases we see these types of charges: theft; fraud; identity
theft; theft by deception; misapplication of
entrusted property when you’re
dealing with fiduciaries, accountants, attorneys,
things of that nature; and money laundering. In New Jersey,
money laundering ends up and can result in a
consecutive sentence as opposed to a concurrent one when you have a
money laundering charge along with one of these other underlying criminal
offenses of theft and fraud. Okay. So you’re
sitting out there, you’re on this webinar, you’re hearing
hopefully this good information and you say, okay,
well, how do I use this? Well, here’s a
publicly available database provided by FinCEN that will show you what’s
going on in your jurisdiction. If you go across — let me see if I can get this
little draw guy here to work. It actually took me
to the screen. Okay. Does everyone see this? I
guess you can’t respond to me. But you want to fill this out. You want to go right
to the drop-down box. There it is, for
depository institutions. If we come over here,
under suspicious activity, you will find elder
financial exploitation under this little drop-down box. It takes you some time to
get there but it’s in here. If you X these out, you’ll get to the elder
financial exploitation. Identity theft,
embezzlement, forgery. See it? There it is.
Elder financial exploitation. And then you just want to
fill out this information for your jurisdiction,
your county, instrument types. You can select bank, cashier
checks, or U.S. currency. Product type. LORI: Peter, I just want to let
you know that the participants can only see the slide. We are not sharing
your screen right now. PETER: Alright.
Well, moving right along. Coming back to the slide. Sorry about that,
ladies and gentlemen. You will find that the slide,
see the little green arrow, elder financial
exploitation is within there. If you fill this out you have
your state, your county, etc. You can find out statistically
what types of activity is occurring in
your jurisdiction, particularly in the area of
elder financial exploitation. So with that, I will turn the
presentation over to Jenefer. JENEFER: Great.
Thank you, Peter. Alright. Well, this
is me, Jenefer Duane, and I’m
delighted to be here today and it’s super to
see so many of you, many, many of you
from all over the country. So thank you so
much for joining us. I am going to
focus my remarks on collaboration,
networks, and resources. So prevention and response
to other financial exploitation is greatly improved
when financial institutions, law enforcement, and APS or
other social service agencies develop
collaborative relationships and build bridges of communication
between each other. Financial institutions
and law enforcement can share
information with each other about their
policies and procedures for detecting,
assessing, and reporting elder financial exploitation. In our experience
these different entities don’t necessarily
speak the same languages, certainly not so much
at a community level, when it comes to
detecting, reporting, and collaborating
around investigations. So that is why we
have a huge emphasis on collaboration
within this joint memorandum. Such
relationships can facilitate timely response to
reports and ensure that staff at the respective
stakeholder organizations have appropriate
points of contact when questions or
challenges arise. So whenever appropriate
financial institutions can provide expert consultation
in sort of network settings, like financial abuse
specialist teams and the like, on banking and financial
documentation, processes, and procedures that will help
assist law enforcement and the Adult Protective Services
with case investigations. In various
locations around the country, key stakeholders have
convened in various forms what we consider
multidisciplinary networks that are successfully
addressing the problem of elder abuse
including, of course, our focus, elder
financial exploitation. Networks engage in
activities such as education, training,
individual case review. And financial institutions
are strongly encouraged, and are often
greatly sought after in these
communities around the country, to participate
in local networks, and they can
locate these networks through their local Adult
Protective Service agency, actually all of you can, or through your local
area agency on aging. There is a resource that
I don’t have at the end, so I’ll say it now
while I’m thinking of it. It’s called the Elder Care
Locator. It’s That is a
fantastic one-stop shop to find all kinds of
resources for older adults. But there is a
section on elder abuse. And if you click on
that it will get you to either your area agency on aging or to Adult Protective Services, and you can
inquire about networks or start your
conversations there. Financial
institutions can also point their older account holders
to these resources as well to assist them
with finding help. So going on here,
in August of 2016 we culminated our work on a
study of national networks. And we released a
Report and Recommendations on Fighting
Financial Exploitation through Community Networks. And we also
released a Resource Guide and we also have a summary
of same for quick reference. So what is a network? Well, a network is a sustained and largely voluntary
collaboration or partnership, working to
detect, prevent, respond to elder financial exploitation. And we already heard what
financial exploitation is with Naomi’s presentation,
but our definition through our Money Smart
for Elder Adults program and through our
guidance here is, financial exploitation is
the fraudulent and otherwise illegal, unauthorized,
or improper actions by a caregiver,
fiduciary, or other individual in which the
resources of an older adult are used by another for
personal profit or gain or their actions, elder financial
exploitation is actions, that result in
depriving an older person of the benefits, resources,
belongings, or assets to which they are entitled. We say that
networks are sustained because they are not a
one-time event or meeting, they are ongoing. Some meet monthly, some
meet every other month, some meet quarterly. And we’ve run
across a few that meet a couple of times a year
for specific activities, such as the World
Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Public Awareness
Initiative, or otherwise. We say that these
efforts are largely voluntary, from formation to operation. This is an important
distinction that mandates MDTs or similar organizations
with interagency protocols. So let’s put that
into sort of easy terms. These networks
generally are voluntary because the
agencies are committing STEs or committing
staff to go to meetings and it is not necessarily
in their mandate to do so. I recently met with
a network in Tennessee that meets at lunch hour because nobody has the time
in their work day otherwise. So it really
underscores the amount of passion and dedication
these advocates have. So the benefits of
networks are many. Our study revealed the findings that for seniors and
professionals in the community, there’s great benefits,
especially in terms of the education, is what we’ve
noticed or what we studied. We’ve been hearing a
lot about cross training between professional
entities in these networks, and also about the community
education and outreach that takes place with the
older adults in the community and family caregivers. Definitely improved response to cases of
financial exploitation, especially when these bridges
of communication are built and contacts are made between
agencies and individuals working in
financial institutions, etc. There’s increased
reporting of cases in communities that
are doing outreach. And definitely
increased referrals between agencies because
of the heightened awareness. In speaking to the interagency
or cross training pieces, this enhances the
members’ skills and capacity to address the issue. And, of course, this all results
in improved coordination, including the use of often-
scarce community resources. There are local
networks in, for example, Cook County, Illinois, and
Oklahoma City that have stated that the participation
of financial experts such as forensic accountants
and compliance officers from financial
institutions was crucial in their case review functions. Financial experts
do often contribute advice and analysis
regarding, among other things, financial transactions,
access to needed documentation, and often the
recovery of assets. As I mentioned,
networks help members gain a clear understanding
of each other’s roles, their policies, their resources,
and often their limitations, which is
frequently misunderstood, especially as elder abuse laws
do vary from state to state and different states
and different networks need to apply
their laws accordingly. A local network in
Fairfield, Ohio, told us that network collaboration
helps speed up processes, such as obtaining guardianship
orders and emergency orders for placement or
to freeze assets. Networks increase the
reporting of suspected cases. In many states with
mandatory reporting laws, networks work to raise
awareness of their state through reporting requirements
for financial institutions, which we discovered
increased reporting. They also said that their
efforts to embolden seniors, or empower
seniors, in their community with education on
preventing fraud, scams, and other forms of
financial exploitation helped increase
reporting of cases demystifying
concerns about self-reporting to Adult Protective Services or their own financial
institution, for example, and also seniors helped
to identify other seniors who may be victims of
financial exploitation and, of course, financial
institutions in the same vein, helping to bring cases forward, sort of in an early
intervention stage, often resulting
in loss prevention. So there are
different types of networks. One of the more
commonly known types is a multidisciplinary team. These provide agencies, such
as APS and law enforcement, with resources,
consultation, and advice concerning elder abuse cases. MDTs commonly bring together
social services, legal, medical, psychological,
sometimes county mental health, and law enforcement experts. While many MDTs are focused
on case review activity, some of them provide
education or training to members of the public. There are also several
types of specialized MDTs. One of the most prevalent focuses specifically on
financial exploitation. And I will reiterate to those of our financial institution
colleagues who are on the line that we heard across the
country, and we hear every day, how much they
desire the participation of financial
institutions in these networks because you are key
stakeholders and gatekeepers for obvious reasons
and why you’re here today. The specialized MDT, known as a Financial
Abuse Specialist Team, is a type of specialized MDT that focuses specifically
on financial exploitation; generally provide consultation
and support to agencies, such as APS case
workers, law enforcement, long-term care ombudsmen who are responding
and investigating cases of elder financial
exploitation, I will clarify — — very open to professionals
from all different disciplines to participate in their efforts. There are other
types of networks, sometimes known as
coalitions and task forces. We saw that 22 percent of the
networks working on elder abuse are not MDTs, but
some are actually Triads, which is another type of network
we identified. Triad or SALT. Triads are under the
National Sheriffs Association. There’s many hundreds
of them across the country with many
thousands of volunteers, usually with a
very strong membership around law enforcement
or retired law enforcement. Many Triads have an
umbrella organization over them called a SALT, which means Seniors and
Law Enforcement Together. Triad is
actually not an acronym. But you can go to the National
Sheriffs Association website, which I believe is, but you can always Google
“National Sheriffs Association” if I fouled that up. And you can look
for a link to Triads and there is a list
that is kept up to date of every Triad in every state. So if you’re looking for a Triad as potentially
boots on the ground to help you with
community outreach and also potentially to
help engage law enforcement with your network, your MDT,
your FAS team, or otherwise, a Triad can be a
tremendous resource to you. And Triads are also
increasingly taking on the issue of elder
financial exploitation and going out into the
community and conducting fraud scam and financial
exploitation prevention and public awareness,
community awareness programs, such as Money
Smart for Elder Adults, and other types of
public awareness initiatives. In our Resource
Guide for Networks we have steps for
starting a network. These are all guidance. It really isn’t a
one size fits all. But we gathered as much
of the promising practices that we could find
around the country and congealed them into this, so there are steps
for starting a network, there’s some discussion about
funding and sustainability, traits of the
successful network coordinator, which is so important
because the coordinator is usually the
heartbeat and the glue that keeps everyone
together, sets the agenda, sends out the meeting invites, keeps the list of
members, etc., etc. And sometimes
networks have two coordinators to share the
burdens or share the work and sometimes subcommittees
to handle various aspects, whether it’s — case
review is a subcommittee, community outreach and
education is a subcommittee. Training, whether it’s
interagency or cross training or training for
financial institutions or that financial institutions
are increasingly providing training for law enforcement,
Adult Protective Services, and others as we mentioned on their protocols,
policies, and procedures. Quickly, Money
Smart for Older Adults. This is our curriculum. It is an awareness program. It’s very comprehensive. We developed it in
collaboration with the FDIC. The curriculum
includes an instructor guide, a resource guide,
and a PowerPoint. There’s about 300 plus minutes
of presentation material designed for older
adults that can be adapted for other community
members or professionals even. The Resource Guide
is a standalone handout that you can order in
bulk, free of charge, from us, through our website, which
I’ll get to at the very end. I want to point out
that the curriculum is available in Spanish and also both the Instructor
Guide and the Resource Guide are in 14 point font, particularly user
friendly for older people, but for those of us who
are a little bit older, and we’re presenters, nice
to have that Instructor Guide in 14 point font as well. And as we like to
say, 14 is the new 12. So when you are
developing materials for older people in your
community, keep that in mind. Our topics are, we have
an overview of common types of elder financial exploitation and it covers a lot of
different types of fraud scams. There’s a robust
section on identity theft, medical identity theft,
scams that target homeowners. So you can segment these out
to target particular audiences. If you know that the
group you’re meeting are homeowners at a
homeowners association, you may want to consider
having this material for them, scams targeting veterans, planning for
unexpected life events, and how to be financially
prepared for disasters, which is an increasingly
popular set of curriculum we’ve noticed
along the Gulf Coast and other areas where disasters
have been sadly happening more and more than
ever before it appears. We released a new version of
Money Smart for Older Adults in March and it has
some new content in it. In case any of you are
using the old version, you should know that
there’s a new, refreshed look. It has great new graphics,
much cleaner look and feel, and it has new content
on debt collection, scams, IRS imposter
scams, charity scams, and other helpful information along with
activities and evaluation forms and all kinds of goodies. We do have some other resources, but I’m going to just pop ahead
here to make sure we finish up. And if I have time at
the end, I’ll circle back. We have lots of
resources on our website that you can pull from,
our supplemental handouts for Money Smart or for whatever
presentations or senior fairs or opportunities you have to get good solid plain
language information out to older people and
family caregivers and others. So Money Smart for Older Adults can be found at
the FDIC website. They are our partners in
producing this curriculum. It’s, and then you look
for the drop-down on Money Smart for Older Adults. You can order all the materials, you can download all
the materials there, including in Spanish. And you also can
order the copies from us, and there is that link
right there: But you can also
go to our website, which we’ll come to
here in just a moment. And then here’s
the link to the Memo. It’s a bit unwieldy,
I apologize for that. It’s on our website. And again, to find a
local network to connect with to start working on
collaboration around your prevention, your interaction,
your building relationships, and hopefully
collaborating on investigations around elder
financial exploitation, you can go to, where it will connect
you with a local resource. And at this point I
want to remind everyone that if you are
looking for the Memo, we’ll have it up
here on the screen in just a second to download. LORI: It’s up here
already under the download box. JENEFER: Is it?
There it is, right there, under the download box. So where you see to
the right of the screen there’s a download
files place for you, and you can click on that
joint memo and download it. And then you can also,
if you are law enforcement and you are
looking for information on where to find your
agency coordinator or an agency coordinator
or a state coordinator or some assistance
with questions about SARs, you go to [email protected] So I take it you’re all
downloading the materials. I also want to flag that
on page two of the Joint Memo that you all are
downloading right now there are, and also on
page three, great footnotes with links to really
important references for you and resources. One of them is the FinCEN Advisory for
Financial Institutions on Filing
Suspicious Activity Reports. Naomi mentioned this
in her presentation. It was released in 2011 and there’s a direct
link to it right there. Or you can Google it: FinCEN Advisory to
Financial Institutions on Filing
Suspicious Activity Reports. There is also a
link on that page to our Interagency
Guidance on Privacy Laws and Reporting Financial
Abuse of Older Adults. And there’s also
a direct link to our Advisory for
Financial Institutions on Preventing and Responding to
Elder Financial Exploitation. So again, all of
those are on page two of the Memorandum on
Financial Institution and Law Enforcement Efforts to Combat Elder
Financial Exploitation. And with that I will
say thank you so much. I’ll just flip this
slide forward. There we go. Thank you very, very much. Did
I go too far? No, I guess not. You can also reach out to
us at [email protected] There it is,
[email protected] If you have specific
questions for Naomi or I or want to get linked up
with some of these resources, this is how you reach us. And you can join our mailing
list there as well. Thank you. LORI: Well, thank you so much,
Naomi, John, Peter, Jenefer. What a wonderful job, a lot of great information
provided here for us today. I do want to leave you here. If you do have questions that
came up through the webinar that weren’t
addressed, in addition to the contact information
that Jenefer offered, you can also contact us at
the Elder Justice Initiative. That’s [email protected] So if you are looking
for any other information or more materials regarding
this topic covered today, feel free to reach out to
us at that email address. Again, thank you
to our presenters, thank you to all of you
for your work out in the field and for taking
time to join us today on this very important topic. And that
concludes today’s webinar.

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