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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Senior loses $250,000 in investment scheme but police "unwilling" to investigate

There is an interesting story currently on CBC which highlights some of the issues that I see at work every day.

Diane McEwan-Loveys became suspicious of an investment scheme in which her father, Mendel McEwen of Kingston, ON, in his 80s and dealing with dementia, invested most of his retirement savings. The scheme was presented to Mr McEwen by an accountant he had trusted for years. The money seems to have been handed over in 2008 and since then there has been no paperwork and no return on the investment. It has simply disappeared. Click here to read more detail about this story. I think you'll agree that the "investment plan" looks pretty iffy.

Though the investment scheme seems pretty phony at this point, Ms McEwen-Loveys has not had any luck getting the police to investigate.

One of the issues I deal with regularly is that seniors with dementia are sometimes easy targets for people who want to steal their money. I often hear from family members who find out that their parents or grandparents have trusted the wrong person and lost a large chunk of their savings. In this case, it was an accountant the victim had known for years. In other cases it's a stranger who rips them off. I wish I could say that the answer is for a senior's children to manage their money, but unfortunately the children themselves are sometimes the perpetrators.

Another issue is involving the police in this type of investigation. When a victim has dementia now, there is a question about whether he or she had dementia at the time the fraud took place. The dementia bring memory loss with it and it can be extremely difficult to establish the facts. Then there is the fact that sometimes you must wade through an awful lot of financial documents to find out what happened. This type of crime needs a fraud investigation team to handle it.

As our population ages, this type of crime is going to become more common and more sophisticated. Those who are getting on in age should plan ahead by creating estate planning documents. Those who are younger need to be proactive in looking out for their older relatives and neighbours.

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