Authorities believe a man swindled money from a dying man and want to warn other vulnerable people to avoid becoming victims to crooks.
The investigation is still continuing but charges are expected to be filed against the man soon for mistreatment of a dependent adult.
The suspect allegedly stole from a 58-year-old man who is in hospice care battling a terminal illness. Authorities say the man stole nearly $9,000 from his mother's former boyfriend, and this occurs all too often.
"Folks already having difficulty physically or mentally are taken advantage," Shawnee Police Department Maj. Bill Hisle said. "It really is hideous."
Dan Goodman of the Johnson County's Agency on Aging said more Baby Boomers reaching their golden years and others down on the luck due to the poor economy have led to the crimes.
"The tragedy with fiduciary abuse and exploitation is they've saved their whole lives and have a nest egg, and their earning potential is gone," he said.
As is in the case in Shawnee, the victim has often helped out the suspect by giving money, but the suspect then takes advantage of the relationship. In the Shawnee case, the victim told police that his funds were exhausted but the suspect began cashing checks at area businesses without permission.
Goodman said it's too easy for friends and family to take advantage of those who are vulnerable. He said sometimes people can claim the money was gifted particularly when the person's state of mind is diminished.
The best advice, Goodman said, is to protect yourself or other family members by sharing the responsibility powers. If possible, appoint one person guardian, give another person power of attorney and name a third person as conservator.
"That way everyone plays a role in your well-being and everyone kind of watches," Goodman said.
The victim in Shawnee will likely not see the case involving him get resolved in the legal system before he does. But police said they will do everything they can to hold the suspect accountable and see justice served for the victim.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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