Posts Tagged ‘Judith M. Shaw’

Elder abuse costs $2.9 billion each year

CONSUMER FORUM

Posted June 14, 2015, at 11:44 a.m.

Click image for list of aging and disability services

You may have seen news reports noting that June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It’s appropriate to focus this column on elder abuse because it is probably the most under-reported of all abuses of consumers.

So, this is a call to action. People who suspect that our older neighbors or friends are being abused need to speak up.

On top of the huge physical and emotional toll of abuse and neglect are the financial costs, estimated at $2.9 billion per year. Cases of investment fraud targeting seniors are well documented; still, Mainers are victimized almost daily.

“Victims can quickly see their entire life savings depleted with little opportunity to recover financial stability,” said Judith Shaw, Maine’s securities administrator. Shaw, who also co-chairs the Maine Council on Elder Abuse, added that such losses can lead to physical and emotional health problems.

Shaw attended last Thursday’s Scam Jam, an awareness event that drew more than 300 people in Augusta. Shaw was among the speakers, and she came away with a renewed conviction about fighting elder abuse: We are all in the fight together, and collaboration among groups seeking to end abuse is critical.

Shaw said part of the natural aging process is a decreasing ability to understand complex financial concepts. Scam artists prey on this fact and use sophisticated social engineering tricks to try to separate seniors from their funds.

In marking this day of awareness, Maine officials listed warning signs of possible abuse or exploitation:

— Social isolation, depression and/or recent loss of spouse or partner.

— Declining health and ability to provide one’s own care.

— Inability to deal with complicated finances.

— Dependence on others for basic care and services.

— Willingness to listen to telemarketers or respond to solicitations from unverified charities or businesses.

In proclaiming Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Gov. Paul LePage urged Mainers to report suspected abuse of older Mainers. The governor noted in his proclamation that abusers are often family members or caregivers.

“Each of us has a responsibility to speak up and report concerns about potential abuse,” LePage said.

That’s especially true when seniors may be too embarrassed or afraid to speak up for themselves.

Suspected abuse can be reported to Adult Protective Services (maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/aps) by calling 800-624-8404

Another key agency is the Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services (maine.gov/dhhs/oads), reachable by phone at 800-262-2232.

Legal Services for the Elderly (mainelse.org) can offer free legal help to socially and economically needy Mainers age 60 and over. Call the helpline at 800-750-5353. You can find links to Maine’s area agencies on aging at maine.gov/dhhs/oes/resource/aaa.htm.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer, ME 04412, visit https://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

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Maine’s Office of Securities Announces Major Settlement With Bankers Life and Casualty Company

Multi-State Task Force Led By Maine Finds Illinois-based Insurance Company Acted as Unlicensed Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser

United States Securities and Exchange Commission

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GARDINER — Maine’s Securities Administrator Judith M. Shaw announced today that a $9.9

million settlement has been reached between Bankers Life and Casualty Company and state securities regulators, concluding an investigation of unlicensed/unregistered brokerage activity by the insurance company.  Maine’s Office of Securities spearheaded the joint investigation into the unlicensed securities activity of Bankers Life with colleagues from New Hampshire, Vermont and Missouri, and with significant assistance from the board of the North American Securities Administrators’ Association (NASAA).

The settlement calls for Bankers Life to pay $9.9 million to be disbursed among the states where its dual agents were located between 2005 and 2011.  Bankers Life also agreed to pay $375,000 to reimburse the task force states for investigation expenses, $260,000 in past licensing and registration fees, and $106,000 to cover the cost of state audits to ensure compliance with the consent order.  Maine is expected to receive approximately $770,000 in penalties, fees and expense reimbursement in connection with the settlement. Continue reading

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