Yesterday, the Department of Justice issued its Annual Report to Congress on Department of Justice Activities to Combat Elder Fraud and Abuse. The report summarizes the department’s extensive efforts from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
“The Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to protecting our nation’s seniors from fraud and abuse is clearly illustrated in this year’s report to Congress,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “I appreciate the men and women of the department, our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, and those in the private sector who support our mission. Their hard work and dedication is to credit for our mutual and ongoing efforts to end elder fraud and abuse.”
This year’s report details the department’s incredible successes, despite the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. The report notes that while the pandemic presented numerous barriers to investigating and advancing cases, the department nonetheless charged almost 300 cases involving a wide variety of fraud targeting or affecting the elderly. Examples of these cases include government imposter scams, computer tech scams, romance scams, investment scams and lottery scams, among others. The report also describes the department’s extraordinary efforts to end transnational criminal organizations from committing fraud on seniors, including by obtaining court orders to prevent robocalls from overseas organizations and by prioritizing the annual Money Mule Initiative to disrupt the flow of fraud proceeds to perpetrators, particularly those who are overseas.
The report additionally describes the department’s significant outreach efforts — including over 575 events around the country, reaching over 165,500 participants, including seniors and other community members, financial and business partners, and state, local, and tribal governments and law enforcement partners. The report also details the department’s many grants to our partners around the country.
The report features the department’s Elder Fraud Sweep — the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history, with over 400 defendants charged for causing more than $1 billion in losses — and the launch of the National Elder Fraud Hotline, 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). The hotline, managed by the department’s Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by trained caseworkers, and to date has received thousands of calls, providing help to seniors and generating leads for further investigation. The department’s National Nursing Home Initiative is also highlighted in the report — launched earlier this year, the Nursing Home Initiative is designed to coordinate and enhance civil and criminal efforts to investigate and prosecute nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care to their residents.
In addition to these historic achievements, the department urges Congress to enact legislation that would strengthen our response to fraud and other crimes that have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have disproportionately impacted seniors.
For more information on the Department of Justice’s work on Elder Justice, please visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.