In 2008 the District Attorney’s Office in Sedgwick County created the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST). This is a specialized fraud unit, working with concerned members of the community, to address the growing problem of financial abuse of the elderly.
The latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the elderly increased by a factor of 11, from 3 million in 1900 to 33 million in 1994. In comparison, the total population, as well as the population under 65 years old, tripled. Under the Census Bureau’s projections, the number of persons 65 years old and over will more than double by the middle of the next century to 80 million. About 1 in 8 Americans were elderly in 1994, but about 1 in 5 will be elderly by the year 2030.
The National Council on Aging says 5 million elders are either physically or financially abused each year. The NCOA says for every reported case of elder abuse, five go unreported.
FAST is a network of specialists from law enforcement, the banking industry, the U.S. Postal Service, the FBI, the Kansas Dept. for Children and Families (DCF, formerly SRS) along with private attorneys and mental health specialists. Many of these organizations have workers who are on the front lines of elder abuse investigations and can notify law enforcement when they see fraud or abuse.
The formation of FAST led to a three-tiered approach: consultation, assistance and public education. FAST meets once a month in Sedgwick County.
FAST successful brings different agencies and the private sector together to uncover cases of elder abuse and take remedial measures to either preserve the financial resources of the elderly victims and/or hold perpetrators accountable.
Indicators of financial abuse (from http://www.popcenter.org/problems/crimes_against_elderly/)
In the event financial abuse or any type of abuse is suspected, please immediately contact the following :
DCF/Adult Protective Services, 1-800-922-5330
Wichita Police, dial 911 in case of emergency or imminent safety issue, or contact the case desk 316-268-4221 to file an incident report.