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F.A.S.T. (Financial Abuse Specialist Team)

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2003
0 pages
Publication Series
This videotape discusses the role of the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (F.A.S.T.) of Santa Clara County, CA.
Elder financial abuse is becoming more and more prevalent as the population ages and there is a greater concentration of wealth among older people. The crime encompasses all socioeconomic groups and cultures. Mortality rates for victims of financial abuse are three times higher than non-victims. The elderly victims do not report the crime out of fear of losing what little support they have and because the perpetrator may have control and power over the victim. A rapid response to suspected cases of elder financial abuse is important. In Santa Clara County, there has been an exponential growth of seniors. Elder financial abuse is on the rise. The Financial Abuse Specialist Team was initiated to provide the rapid response that is essential before the victim’s assets are depleted. The F.A.S.T. team is a multi-disciplinary team comprised of Adult Protective Services, County Counsel, Public Guardian, and District Attorney personnel. The team assesses reports of financial abuse and decides if there is imminent danger to the victim. There is a coordinated effort and results can occur within hours. Sources of reports include law enforcement, health care professionals, family members, and financial institutions. The team looks for a perceived degree of severity of abuse. Some risk factors are the limited ability for victims to advocate for themselves, limited mobility, and the recent loss of a spouse that took care of financial matters. Financial elder abuse is usually perpetrated by family members or relatives. Because of this, the victim may deny abuse and feel shame. Red flags for elder financial abuse include the inability to pay bills, confusion about financial affairs, and a decreasing bank account. If the facts of an investigation meet legal criteria, the team will obtain emergency conservatorship in order to secure the assets of the victim, continue the investigation, and pursue criminal prosecution.

Date Published: May 1, 2003