Local Training Focuses on Victimization of the Elderly

Pictured, in the front row from left to right, are Amanda LeGars, CCAAA; Officer Julie Wehler of the Lawrence Township Police Department; Trooper Carol Ponce of the DuBois State Police; Trooper Mary Jane McGinnis of the Clearfield State Police; and Linda Mills, certified fraud examiner, Temple University Protective Services Institute.
In the back row, from left to right, are Officer Rod Fairman of the Sandy Township Police Department; William A. Shaw Jr., Clearfield County District Attorney; Trooper Mark Rorabaugh of the Punxsutawney State Police; Officers Casey Doherty and Shawn Bloom of the DuBois City Police Department; Dr. Ron Costen, Esq., Temple University Protective Services Institute; and Officer Greg Neeper of the Clearfield Borough Police Department.
(Provided photo)

Law enforcement officers from local police departments and the Pennsylvania State Police recently completed criminal investigation training sponsored by the Office of William Shaw Jr., Clearfield County District Attorney and the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc.  Titled, “Victimization of the Elderly: Criminal Investigation & Prosecution,” the training was conducted by Dr. Ronald Costen, PhD, Esq. and Linda Mill, certified fraud examiner, both of the Pennsylvania Institute on Protective Services at Temple University-Harrisburg.

The training provided an overview of issues confronting the law enforcement officers who are investigating crimes committed against older adults. Costen focused on legal, social and psychological issues confronted by the investigator in resolving these cases. Crimes, such as theft, identify theft, access device fraud, forgery, neglect of care dependent persons, homicide and related investigative and prosecutorial issues, were discussed.

Mill focused on investigating financial crimes, working with banks and provided tools for reviewing and organizing financial data.

In his welcoming remarks, Shaw noted that financial exploitation of older adults cannot be tolerated.

“We are pleased to be able to co-sponsor this training with the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging for our local law enforcement.  The training and on-going support from the Protective Services Institute is of the highest quality, and it should enable us to continue our efforts to shed light on this problem and effectively prosecute crimes against the elderly,” said Shaw.

He pointed out that two cases of financial exploitation have already been successfully prosecuted this year resulting in sentences of incarceration and restitution.

John Kordish, executive director and Amanda LeGars, protective services supervisor for the CCAAA, agreed.

“With the increase in exploitation and scams affecting elderly persons, we have stepped up our efforts against these crimes and have greatly appreciated the support of Judge (Fredric) Ammerman and Judge Paul Cherry, District Attorney (William) Shaw and his staff, and law enforcement from across Clearfield County,” said Kordish.  LeGars added, “We can’t allow financial exploitation of our elderly residents; they deserve honor and respect, not abuse.”

Attending the law enforcement training were Officer Rod Fairman, of the Sandy Township Police Department; Trooper Mark Rorabaugh of the Punxsutawney State Police; Officers Casey Doherty and Shawn Bloom of the DuBois City Police Department; Officer Greg Neeper of the Clearfield Borough Police Department; Officer Julie Wehler, of the Lawrence Township Police Department; Trooper Carol Ponce of the DuBois State Police; and Trooper Mary Jane McGinnis of the Clearfield State Police.

Costen is currently the director of the Pennsylvania Institute on Protective Services at Temple University.  Formerly, he was a Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney in Lackawanna County specializing in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against the elderly.

Costen is senior lecturer at Temple University.  Mill, a certified fraud examiner, is currently the investigations manager of the Pennsylvania Institute on Protective Services at Temple University.  Formerly, she was senior vice president of deposit risk operations and loss management at Wachovia Bank.  While at Wachovia, Mill created and managed the bank’s elder abuse investigations and prevention team.

The Institute on Protective Services is a collaborative effort of the state’s Department of Aging and Temple University.  It operates with funds provided by the department.

For additional information on the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc., please visit their website at www.ccaaa.net or call the agency at 765-2696.  The Protective Service Program is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc.

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