Many elderly citizens—especially those experiencing the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia—rely on family members or other caregivers to manage their financial affairs. Sadly, this vulnerability can prove tempting to otherwise seemingly trustworthy people. Consider the recent case of a Tuscaloosa attorney who was charged by federal prosecutors with withholding and concealing information about a crime that involved one of the lawyer’s clerks financially exploiting an elderly woman who suffered from dementia. In September 2007, the Tuscaloosa County Probate Court appointed the clerk as temporary guardian of a 79-year-old woman who required nursing home care due in part to dementia, delusion disorder and paranoia. Between Sept. 28, 2007, and April 18, 2008, the clerk racked up nearly $20,000 worth of purchases on the elderly woman’s debit card and a department store credit card. Purchases included two plane tickets and a stay at a resort in Mexico, as well as a Coach-brand purse that the clerk gave to his employer as a Christmas present in 2007. Although the lawyer found out about the use of the elderly woman’s personal debit and credit cards in April 2008, she did not report the crime. Financial abuse of the elderly can be difficult to detect. The person committing the crime may be trusted by the victim and the victim’s family; in many cases, as with patients who have Alzheimer’s or dementia, the victim is unable to notice the abuse or express concern about the possibility of abuse. If you have an elderly loved one whose finances are being managed by a caregiver, it’s crucial to monitor transactions and report any signs of financial exploitation. If you suspect an elderly family member is a victim of financial exploitation or other form of abuse, please contact the Mobile, Alabama, attorneys at Long & Long, for a free case evaluation.