Crimes against elderly subject of film, local panel

ENGLEWOOD — Kristy Babington of Englewood Bank & Trust will be among the panelists Friday at a discussion on financial crimes against the elderly.

The discussion will include a documentary with Mickey Rooney about a Sarasota couple who fell victim to a con artist posing as their son.

The presentation, ‘Last Will and Embezzlement: Protecting Yourself and Others from Exploitation and Fraud’ will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Friday at the Selby Auditorium on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Different law enforcement agencies, consumer-protection advocate groups and members of the financial industry will be represented, including Babington, whose title is Bank Secrecy Act and Privacy Officer.

An open panel discussion with questions and answers is open to the public, as well as different industries that have been invited.

The panel will feature a screening of ‘Last Will and Embezzlement,’ a documentary with Mickey Rooney recalling an elderly Sarasota couple who fell a victim to a con artist posing as their son.

Following their mother’s death, the couple’s two real children came to visit their father, who was in a nursing home due to his illness, to assist him with his affairs. Upon visiting, the nursing home informed the children that their brother already was taking care of that.

‘There was someone who had gotten involved with the husband and wife and become friendly with them,’ said Kathleen Houseweart, manager of geriatric services at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. ‘He’d gotten the name on their bank accounts and the deed to the house. When the children came to town, they discovered all of this and it was too late at that point to do much about it.’

The daughter, Pamela S.K. Glasner, is the film producer. It is co-produced and directed by Deborah Louise Robinson. Glasner interviewed local professionals and Rooney, who also has been a victim.

The film highlights the problem, and the panel has been put together to highlight the problem, Houseweart said.

‘How do we avoid being victimized?,’ she asked.’How do we identify the situation when (it’s) occurring in our own family? What do we do about it locally? Who are the agencies? Who are the individuals who can help when these situations occur?’

There are a number of factors why a high percentage of seniors fall victim to financial crimes, why there is hesitation to admit being one, the isolation and the resulting fear from being vulnerable.

‘The unfortunate truth is these things happen because the perpetrators gain the trust of the victim,’ Houseweart said. ‘The other thing that’s become a big problem is that many seniors become fearful that they will be seen as less capable if they admit that they’ve been a victim. They don’t want to be sent to a nursing home when, in reality, you can’t be sent against your will as long as you can take care of yourself.’

USF Sarasota-Manatee is located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Register online at http://www.lastwillandembezzlement.eventbrite.com, or call 941-861-9575.

For information about the film, go to http://www.lastwillandembezzlement.com

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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