U.S. Attorney Todd Gee Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Published 11:06 am Thursday, June 13, 2024

Todd Gee, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, will join national, state, local, and Tribal leaders to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on Saturday, June 15, 2024. WEAAD has been recognized since 2006 to promote awareness and understanding of elder abuse and the resources available to those at risk.

Highlighting the partnership between law enforcement and the public, U.S. Attorney Gee emphasized the importance of awareness and education.

“Fraudulent scams targeting elders and other forms of elder abuse happen frequently in Mississippi and throughout the nation,” Gee stated. “We see these scams in junk emails and robocalls targeting elder relatives for money and personal information. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to share information about protecting older family and friends from fraud and other abuse.”

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Elder abuse includes actions that knowingly, intentionally, or negligently cause or create a severe risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Such harm may be financial, physical, sexual, or psychological. The Justice Department maintains various programs and initiatives to combat elder abuse.

The Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force combines federal and state agencies to investigate and prosecute foreign-based schemes targeting older Americans. This initiative also provides the public with information to guard against scams, such as tech support fraud and romance scams.

Some fraudsters use money mules to move the proceeds of their illegal activities. The Money Mule Initiative identifies and disrupts these schemes while educating the public to avoid involvement in such fraud.

To help older individuals and their families recognize and avoid scams, the Justice Department offers Senior Scam Alerts with information on specific schemes. Examples include Social Security Administration impostor scams, tech support scams, and lottery scams. For more details on the department’s elder justice efforts, visit the Elder Justice Initiative page.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi collaborates with federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute elder abuse crimes. Recently, the office prosecuted six college track and field athletes involved in overseas fraud schemes targeting elders through romance scams, fraudulent goods scams, and military scams. Additionally, a Kiln man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for convincing his elderly neighbors to give him their personal information under the pretext of helping them receive COVID-related benefits, which he then used to apply for unemployment benefits fraudulently.