Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research

Exploratory Study of Elder Financial Exploitation

This study of elder financial exploitation will be conducted in The Florida Villages with the cooperation of the Seniors vs. Crime project, an organization affiliated with the State of Florida’s Attorney General’s Office. The Villages have a population that exceeds 100,000 residents aged 55 or older with 70% aged 65 or older.

The study consists of four phases. Phase I involves a review of case records of financial exploitation complaints made by residents of The Villages to the Seniors vs. Crime organization. The review will provide findings that address various victim demographics and specifics on the reported financial exploitation.

Phase II consists of several Town Hall meetings in the villages. These meetings will be widely advertised and designed to introduce and review the study of financial exploitation with The Village’s residents. A brief survey will be conducted at the end of the meetings asking residents whether or not they have been the victim of financial exploitation and the related circumstances of their respective victimization. Based upon information gathered from the surveys administered at the Town Hall meetings, phase III and IV will involve residents for participation in focus groups and individual interviews.

FSU will be utilizing surveys, focus groups and individual interviews to collect general information about financial exploitation victimization and/or avoidance. The study’s focus will be upon identifying some of the salient risk and/or protective factors associated with elder financial exploitation, including the potential prevention role of financial advisers.

Contacts

Principal Investigator: Thomas Blomberg, Dean and Sheldon L. Messinger Professor of Criminology, FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Co-PI: Neil Charness, William G. Chase Professor of Psychology, Interim Director, Institute for Successful Longevity

Project Manager: George Pesta, Associate Director, FSU Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research

Graduate Research Assistants: Julie Mestre Brancale and Brae Campion

Funding Agency: Merrill Lynch

Dates: January 1, 2015 – June 2016

Funding Amount: $118,000