Nationally Recognized Elder Abuse Prosecutor, Paul Greenwood to Headline Billings Event
In its ongoing efforts to fight the growing problem of elder abuse in the state, AARP Montana is partnering with Big Sky Senior Services to present an elder abuse prevention conference on March 20 and 21in Billings. Headlining the event is Nationally Recognized Elder Abuse Prosecutor, Paul Greenwood.
Greenwood heads up the San Diego District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit, a position he has held for the past sixteen years. He is also a co-chair of the California District Attorneys Association Elder Abuse Committee. Greenwood and his colleagues have prosecuted more than 350 felony cases. The San Diego office is among only a handful of official elder abuse units in the country, and Greenwood has made it one of the most aggressive and respected foes of the crime.
In his free time, Greenwood travels the country educating the public on how to protect against abuse. He also teaches those on the frontlines how to better enforce laws and prosecute offenders.
“At least 65% of my prosecutions involve some form of financial exploitation. The conduct of the criminals is becoming more brazen and diverse,” said Greenwood during recent testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. “The perpetrators are constantly developing new ways to gain access to our seniors’ life savings and have focused upon a generation that typically has been more trusting and less able or willing to self report the victimization.”
Day one of the conference is targeted towards professionals who are on the front lines of elder abuse, for example attorneys, law enforcement and Adult Protective Services personnel. Continuing education credits are available. Day two of the conference, which is a half day, is open to the public.
The American Psychological Association estimates that 2.1 million older Americans become victims of abuse each year. But research shows that elder abuse is significantly under-reported and under-identified. As few as 1 in 6 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
In addition, elders throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, medicine and medical care. Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It occurs in every demographic, and can happen to anyone. Yet it is estimated that only about one in five of these financial crimes are ever reported. These crimes include identity theft, fake check scams, wire transfer scams and securities fraud.
“Our aging population is growing, and with that, so are the incidents of elder abuse and neglect,” said Joy Bruck, AARP Montana State President. “As a society, we must take action to put an end these terrible injustices against the elderly, or the problem will continue to get worse. Older Montanans have the right to live out their lives in a safe environment with access to the best care possible, and that is why AARP Montana is working to fight elder abuse on several fronts.”
In addition to sponsoring the conference, AARP is supporting several bills this legislative session that will strengthen Montana’s elder protection laws. “By 2025, Montana will have the fifth oldest population among the 50 states. Now is the time for lawmakers to update state law to better protect this growing population,” said Bruck.
Last session, AARP Montana was instrumental in successfully passing legislation to strengthen Montana’s financial exploitation laws by adopting the essential protections of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Before passage of the new law, Montana statutes lacked adequate consumer protections. The Power of Attorney has become a commonly used, inexpensive, valuable tool for advanced planning -- allowing a person to designate someone to handle their financial affairs.
Reservations are required by March 15 and can be made by calling Big Sky Senior Services at 406-259-3111. Conference details are outlined below. For complete conference agenda go to: http://www.mtelderabuseprevention.org
What: Annual Statewide Elder Abuse Conference
Who: Keynote Speaker, Paul Greenwood
When &: Day 1 — Professional Day: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Where 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Professional Education Day for law enforcement, attorneys,
APS Personnel and other professionals – CE Credits available
Registration fee: $50
Federal Building, 316 North 26th Street, Billings, MT
Day 2 — Public Day: Thursday, March 21
9 am – Noon
Free and open to the public!
The Northern Hotel, 19 North Broadway, Billings, MT
More info: RSVP required -- go to: www. mtelderabuseprevention.org or 406-259-3111.