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Home Improvement Fraud Against Seniors: A Manual for Prosecutors

NCJ Number
Date Published
291 pages
This manual is intended as a stand-alone resource and as a complement to a workshop to assist prosecutors nationwide in prosecuting home improvement fraud perpetrated by home improvement contractors against senior citizens.
The manual complements a training course lasting 4.5 days. Topics include senior citizens as targets of fraud, the consequences of fraud for seniors, the characteristics of offenders who are local contractors or transient offenders, the recognition of fraudulent schemes, and the steps in the investigation of home improvement fraud. Additional topics included pretrial considerations, including bond hearings, additional victims, charging decisions, and defenses; trial strategies, including the importance of a theme, jury selection, and the order of witnesses; pretrial interviews of the elderly victim; and preparation for court. Further topics included the use of experts, including gerontologists, inspectors, and contractors; the cross-examination of the defendant and defense witnesses; opening statements; and closing arguments. The course exercises included a discussion of a mock trial case file and a direct examination exercise and a cross-examination exercise in which participants were videotaped and critiqued. The manual also includes discussions of potential Federal charges such as mail and wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, as well as an overview and specific suggestions for preventing home improvement fraud. Lists of addresses and contact information for resources for law enforcement, consumer protection, and services for senior citizens