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Chicago-area nursing home may be the site of financial abuse

While physical and mental abuse may leave perceptible warnings for seniors and their friends to spot, financial abuse can be the "silent abuse," as nearly no one in a person's life will be able to tell immediately if it is happening. Extortion, theft and other forms of financial abuse of senior citizens costs millions of dollars per year.

A 97-year-old former government employee with a sizable life savings and encroaching dementia turned to a Lincoln Park assisted living facility for her continued safety and security. Within a year, a group of employees at the home allegedly drained the entire fortune through ATM withdrawals, check cashing and online money transfers — all without the resident's permission.

"I've never seen this level of corruption from the very highest levels to the very lowest levels," said the lawyer representing the resident in her lawsuit against the home and its employees, who may have taken more than $600,000.

Chicago Police officers are also investigating possible criminal charges against the employees, one of whom took as much as $191,000 from the resident with the help of her children. The operator of the Lincoln Park facility, along with 24 other Chicago-area rest homes, said they believed the resident was giving money to employees.

Victims of financial abuse and other forms of nursing home abuse may seek help with an attorney to rectify losses and prevent them from happening again. A lawsuit against individuals or an organization guilty of or complicit in abuse can do the right thing for the community as well as any past victims.

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