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Northern Kentucky residents who aided senior crime victim to be honored; Ludlow community supports woman who was financially exploited

Press Release Date:  Friday, July 22, 2005  
Contact Information:  Pat Schneider, (859) 525-4963  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 20, 2005) – Her roof had a hole large enough for daylight to stream through. So she trusted a man to repair the damage. Instead, one older Northern Kentucky woman became victim of a scammer who tried to rob her savings. Luckily, she was also the patron of kindness and diligent reporting from several community members and neighbors who became aware of the exploitation. And now others from the region want to recognize these individuals and say thanks.

The Northern Kentucky Elder Maltreatment Alliance (EMA) is honoring those Ludlow residents this week for their senior protection efforts.

A recognition ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 21, at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District office, 22 Spiral Drive, Florence.

Eugene Foster, Ed. D, undersecretary for children and family services at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, will present the awards.

The manager at the Ludlow Senior Center, where the woman attends, suspected this woman was being scammed, EMA council member Patricia Schneider said. “Just as he should have, he reported it to his local Adult Protective Services office and notified police,” she said.

The center manager also visited the woman’s bank to alert them of the scam, and officials there also took quick action.

“Protection of our vulnerable adults is a community responsibility,” Foster said. “Neighbors and businesspeople who care don’t think about acknowledgment when they are working to protect seniors. But in recognizing these selfless acts, we not only thank these citizens, we encourage others to look out for older Kentuckians as well.” 
Foster said helping seniors is everyone’s business.

“This administration is committed to protecting Kentucky’s seniors,” he said. “The citizens and groups we honor exemplify the dedication that our cabinet encourages at the neighborhood level,” Foster said. “Financial exploitation is a growing crime among seniors, and with community involvement, we can all work to curb this problem.”

In March, Governor Ernie Fletcher signed legislation to enhance the existing state law that protects Kentucky’s adults from abuse. Governor Fletcher’s efforts were supported by the state’s AARP, which had pushed for several years for the adoption of an elder abuse law in Kentucky.

The Northern Kentucky EMA is one of the state’s 30 Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse (LCCEAs). The LCCEAs play an important role in the adult abuse law’s implementation.
EMA covers the eight-county region of Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Pendleton and Owen.

The state’s 30 LCCEAs came under joint leadership of the Area Agencies on Aging and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Adult Protective Services staff in 2002. Members include cabinet staff, law enforcement officers, business leaders, health care providers and advocates for the elderly.

Schneider said the efforts of the honored citizens show progress. “Maybe we are finally getting the word out to people to understand what elder maltreatment is and how we are all responsible to detect and prevent it.”

In the case of the Ludlow woman, the scammer who was supposed to fix her roof instead began putting new siding on her home to have more and better access to her finances.

Award recipients who assisted the woman are as follows:

Marty Herbert, Manager, Senior Services of Northern Kentucky Ludlow Center
Herbert had become concerned that a senior center participant was a victim of a home repair scam and of financial exploitation. He was further concerned that the older woman was at risk of being financially exploited again by the same individuals. Herbert intervened on behalf of the woman citizen by reporting the abuse. As a result, law enforcement agencies, the cabinet’s Adult Protective Services, financial institutions and faith-based agencies came together to prevent the financial abuse from recurring and are continuing to provide a support system for the older adult.

Lt. Col. Bennie Johnson, Ludlow Police Department
Johnson was contacted regarding a home repair scam and the financial exploitation of the Ludlow woman.   He investigated the reported financial abuse and aggressively pursued those involved. The case is currently pending prosecution of a Class C felony for willfully financially exploiting an older adult. 

Christine Heister, Huntington Bank Manager
Once Heister became aware that the Ludlow woman, a Huntington Bank customer, had become a home repair scam victim and was at risk for further exploitation, she took steps to assist the woman in managing her account in a way that would prevent her from being further exploited.

Libby Perrine, the Central Church of the Nazarene
When parishioners at Ludlow’s Central Church of the Nazarene became aware that one of their congregation members had fallen victim to a home repair scam, they stepped forward to assist.
Men of the congregation donated shingles and replaced the shoddy roof on the victim's home. Women from the church helped with other needs inside the house. A member of the church also agreed to provide ongoing assistance to the victim with managing her finances to prevent any further financial exploitation.

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Last Updated 7/22/2005