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Letter: Be aware of elders who are vulnerable

This is probably happening to someone you know.

Kudos to Debra Hilstrom from Brooklyn Center for confronting the issues surrounding the exploitation of vulnerable adults. This so often happens right under our noses, but goes undetected or unreported, or when reported nothing is done due to the word “civil.” Victims being exploited often times don’t even know anything is happening to them do to their frail conditions or incapable ability to think or evaluate implications of what is happening to them. Also many times the perpetrator is in belief of what they are doing is legal or of their right to do so. In some cases it can be as little as a cashier ringing up an item twice, to as big as exploiting life savings and or property ownership, and or interference of an inheritance.

Many times there is no policing of these exploitations of vulnerable adults because people do not see it as unlawful or don’t have the time, money, or resources to combat these offences. Be advised when you contact law officials and or the county attorney’s office you will probably be told this is a “civil matter” and you will be left standing alone. So the judicial system will turn their backs on many of these cases for many different reasons.

Then the vulnerable adult whom in some cases may not have any help, are left at the hands of the abuser.

So I commend the actions of Debra Hilstrom for her efforts to combat these laws and crimes against minds that no longer can handle or determine what is happening to them. There are so many laws and statues wrote and updated annually trying to combat these issues, that it is appalling for lawyers to fight for the rights of the perpetrators and people just turn their backs on such horrendous crimes leaving vulnerable adults in some cases with accelerated health issues over the stress, and financially hardened by lawyer fees, court costs, filing fees, and even housing issues.

Please be aware of your elders and their possibility of a sweetheart scam.

That’s when someone close or related will be all chummy and nice, while at the same time be exploiting them. You will probably be on your own, but please do what you can to hold these people accountable for their actions.

For more information on these crimes and laws no one wants to enforce go to the web and type in “Attorney General Lori Swanson” and read up on the guide lines about this very real situation. Get good legal advice. It is out there. Help stop the exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Mike Sheeran

Park Rapids