The integrity and goodness of a person is determined by how he or she treats the most vulnerable members of society. Our resolve to protect them and advocate on their behalf is just as important.
Nationally, seniors lose approximately $2.9 billion to fraud each year. What makes the problem worse is that 80 percent of these crimes are committed by their own loved ones. Fraud affects more than just the victims; it is often family members, health care providers and taxpayers who must absorb the cost of caring for seniors after their savings have been depleted.
Cases of elder fraud often go unreported. In fact, only 44 out of every 1,000 cases are even reported to authorities, according to a report in Forbes Magazine. Every day perpetrators are getting away with these crimes and it must be stopped.
This is why I am taking steps to address the issue of elder fraud with legislation aimed at protecting Ohio's most vulnerable from this heinous crime. Throughout my 40-year career in banking, I witnessed countless attempts to financially exploit seniors. For real change to occur, three key areas must be addressed: increased public awareness, enhanced education and strengthened penalties for offenders. By simply starting this conversation, we are another step closer to a solution, but more needs to be done—we must take action.
Even the most independent seniors can fall victim to fraud. We owe it to them to act in their best interest and do something to prevent criminals from preying on the most vulnerable in our community.
I am grateful for the support and engagement of so many on this issue. As we move ahead, I look forward to working alongside a strong coalition dedicated to protecting Ohio's seniors.