Area officials target elder fraud with task force

A group of public directors recently created an elder financial fraud task force, aimed to reduce criminals exploiting area senior citizens.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 9, 2013


Nationwide, American seniors lose $2.9 billion a year to fraud, according to MetLife Mature Market Institute. The majority of those victimized are between ages 80 to 89, the study shows.

As evidenced by local police reports, local seniors have also been regularly victimized, both by predatory phone scammers and by loved ones who take advantage of them.

The Register talked with the four officials spearheading the task force. They include: Erie County Job and Family Services executive director Karen Balconi Ghezzi; Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter; Serving Our Seniors executive director Sue Daugherty; and Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth.

The four answered questions about their role in the task force and the severity and ramifications of elder financial abuse.

Pick up a copy of Wednesday's Register to read what the officials had to say.




Task forces are created for doing specific tasks. But why should they use force? Loved ones should never victimize their elders.

Cheron Rebok

With all due respect, three out of four names in article have NOT attended the task force meetings in recent months.


Then they are not doing their jobs, are they. Why is the SR painting them as being such "heros" of the elderly if they are not there? This makes me so mad to hear that. Totally unfair to the public. Thanks for being so honest with us.

Julie R.

Spot on, wiredmama. Why make the ones that could care less out to be the heros and champions of the elderly when we all know it isn't the truth.

That said, I would like to mention that I have the utmost respect for Sue Daugherty.

Julie R.

Kevin Baxter is spearheading an elder financial fraud task force aimed to reduce criminals exploiting area senior citizens?

Lord Almighty, God Himself must have shuddered to hear THAT one!


Loved ones do victimize their elders though. I know of at least two families that are living off of ill, elderly relatives. There are 8 to 10 people living with their respective relatives and I guarantee you, the elderly person is paying the bills. The homes are 2 or 3 bedrooms at most and trash pervades the yards so I can't imagine what the inside looks like but it seems to be a trend. Grandma has a house, a check and medical paid for-let's move in and pretend to help her and we can live for free.

Julie R.

I know some idiots assisted by malicious attorneys and malicious crooks from two financial institutions --- all from Huron with the exception of a Lorain County attorney --- that sure did victimize an elderly person at the end of her life when she was in the end stages of Alzheimers. Forged power of attorneys, forged Wills, fraudulent transfer of her property causing serious defects in the title, internal criminal changes to all of her contracts at a huge substantial discount, etc. etc.

As I've said many times before --- I have so many fraud documents prepared by those malicious attorneys and those malicious crooks from two financial institutions during the short time my mother was in a nursing home, I could actually wallpaper an entire room with those forged documents. In fact, I have records that show they were still preparing fraud documents four months AFTER her death.

Sarah Weber

Sue Daugherty does not have a user account with us, but she asked that I share the following comment:


FROM SUE DAUGHERTY:  To those who have posted remarks with regard to attendance and “caring less”…  Allow me to clarify so the misunderstanding can be corrected.  It wasn’t until December 2012 that I asked the Erie County Prosecutor, The Erie County Sheriff and the Erie County Director of Job & Family Services to help by providing their leadership and expertise to this issue of Financial Elder abuse.  When I asked, they were very willing and have been very responsive..  Prior to this, they were never asked to lead a task force on to address Financial Elder Abuse.      
There have been two planning meetings.  All have attended both meetings and provided meaningful guidance.  This is in the preliminary stage -- gathering information necessary to lay out a blue print for an effective task force on financial elder abuse.    Once the preliminary work is done… The Erie County Senior Issues Coalition will see and experience more of these three individuals as they accomplish the task of Erie County responding to and preventing financial elder abuse.  


Thank you, Sarah, for clearing that matter up. So what Sue is saying is, this task force wasn't even started until Dec. 2012, and apparently only two meetings have been held: all attended.

That is a bit different that we were told, now, isn't it. If there is one thing I hate, it is being misled to believe something that JUST AIN"T SO. Whatever the reason a person has for doing that, it is certainly unfair to the person's he or she is being dishonest about.

My apologies for MY comments.

Julie R.

Well, I'm really glad to hear that they are going to start addressing abuse against the elderly.

So does that mean if the auditor authorizes any fraudulent transfers of an elderly person's property prior to their deaths, Sheriff Sigworth won't be selling the property at any scam sheriff sales on orders from the court like the former sheriff did?

If so, that's good. It might even kill two birds with one stone. Cut down on crimes against the elderly plus force the courts to start following the law.

Julie R.

So how does this task force intend on targeting elder fraud?

After all, my elderly mother sure didn't know that her attorneys were preparing new fraud power of attorneys and new fraud Wills when she was totally incompetent. She didn't know that the two fraud attorneys-in-fact were transferring her property on a forged power of attorney concealed in the Lorain County Recorder's office. She didn't know that dirt-bags from an insurance company and a Huron bank were making internal criminal changes to all of her contracts at a substantial discount. Neither did she know that the dirt-bags were cash surrendering in all of her life insurance policies on a forged power of attorney with fraud Erie County Recorder numbers faxed down the side of it.

I didn't know it, either. The rats were sneaky.

So how does this task force intend on targeting criminal acts against the elderly?


You must have seen this headline and jumped up and down with excitement. We have gotten your point after the first 100 times you have posted these same sentiments. What do you hope to accomplish? You need to let this go and move on. It happened. Let it go. Geez.

Julie R.

You must have seen the headline about the Erie County Care Facility and jumped and down with excitement.

Julie R.

@heaven-leigh: Instead of telling me to let it go that's the advice the Erie County courts could very well benefit from. Maybe they should learn how to take cases that could be and should be over even before they begin and try resolving them for once instead of creating half a dozen other issues to take away from the real issue.

One person passes away in late 2002 and her spouse in early 2005. In 2011 the courts were still playing their unprofessional games, still sitting on legitimate complaints refusing to address them and still sitting on the money from a scam sheriff sale of the decedents' property that took place in 2007.

Julie R.

Shouldn't the probate court judge Beverly McGookey also be on the task force to target crimes against the elderly?

Julie R.

Maybe Mr. Baxter should be targeting these crook financial institutions that are making internal criminal changes to the contracts of the elderly, even cash surrendering in all of their life insurance policies two months before their deaths on forged power of attorneys with bogus Erie County Recorder numbers faxed down the side of them. That's even worse than attorneys transferring property under fraud quitclaims deeds that falsely state forged power of attorneys concealed in the Lorain County Recorder are on file in Erie County.