Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults
It is a criminal felony for a person through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or unjust enrichment, obtain, use, or attempt to obtain or use money or property of a person, directly or indirectly benefiting himself or herself, knowing or having reason to know that the person was a vulnerable adult. The Social Welfare Act defines vulnerability as a person 18 years or older who has a condition in which said person is unable to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect or exploitation because of a mental or physical impairment or because of advanced age.
Michigan Law makes it mandatory for health care, social welfare, mental health, law enforcement, and other human services providers to report their suspicions of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect or exploitation to Adult Protective Services. However, anyone suspecting that a vulnerable adult has been abused, neglected or exploited may report his or her suspicions to the Macomb County Adult Protective Services Unit of the Department of Human Services by calling (586) 412-6109 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Aside from contacting Adult Protective Services, anyone suspecting that a vulnerable adult has been abused, neglected or exploited should also contact their local police department and file a police report immediately. If in doubt, remember that it is better to err on the side of caution. Failure, or delay, in making the call could cost a vulnerable adult more than their life savings; it could cost them their life.