A Westchester doctor was convicted of stealing over half-a-million dollars from an elderly woman. According to LoHud.com, physician Peter Corines of Eastchester stole the massive sums from a 97-year-old woman over just a two-week period in November 2017. The jury convicted the disgraced doctor of three felonies stemming from the stolen money and stolen identity that Dr. Corines used to swindle the elderly woman. After being convicted on all counts, the judge sentenced Dr. Corines to three years in prison and told him he “was a disgrace to a noble profession.”
In the criminal complaint, prosecutors said Dr. Corines befriended the 97-year-old and then quickly moved to rob and defraud her of her wealth. The doctor obtained power of attorney from her and quickly emptied her accounts. The shameless doctor also impersonated the woman and opened mutual funds and requested checks in her name. With just a couple weeks, the woman’s entire wealth had been siphoned away by Dr. Corines. Prosecutors say the doctor swindled the senior citizen to pay off personal debts incurred from a failed yacht repair business. When police officers arrested the doctor on April 2018, the doctor only had $11,000 left of the woman’s money.
While stealing from an elderly and vulnerable person is undoubtedly appalling, financial abuse of the elderly is unfortunately common. While most heists are not carried out in less than two weeks, financial abuse of the elderly typically looks somewhat similar to the case of Dr. Corines. Elder abuse experts say people commonly ingratiate themselves with isolated elderly men and woman with the purpose of gaining their trust and then robbing them blind. In this case, Dr. Corine was a stranger to the victim, however; financial abuse is commonly perpetrated by family members or nursing home staff. Just last month, a nursing home in Connecticut said that its patients had thousands stolen from their trust funds by a crooked staffer.
Recognizing the severity of the growing problem, The Department of Justice is planning to meet with major banks and other financial industry titans to “address financial exploitation” of the elderly, according to Fox Business. Attorney General William Barr said that stopping elder fraud is a top concern for the DOJ and noted that less than one in 44 cases are even reported. To underline the seriousness of his proposal to tackle the issue, Attorney General Barr announced a new joint law enforcement effort – the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, which will combine the efforts of the DOJ, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the F.B.I, the Postal Service, and the Consumer Protection Bureau. Announcing the new task force, the Attorney General said, “Fraud against the elderly is on the rise… The [DOJ] is committed to ending the victimization of elders across the country.” After announcing the largest crackdown on financial abuse last month, Attorney General Barr hopes to reverse that trend.