Phoenix (Thursday, March 7, 2013) – As part of Consumer Protection Week, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is today announcing the impact of one of his first initiatives since taking office - the Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA), which was formed in March 2011. The TASA is comprised of community, business, and government leaders who are committed to identifying and advocating for the needs and concerns of senior citizens.
In the two years since its formation, TASA has grown in both size and scope and today includes more than 31 members who work together to heighten public awareness of senior/elder abuse, initiate efforts of prevention, and prosecute cases in which seniors are victimized.
“It is estimated that one in four Arizonans will be over 60 by 2020 and regrettably, seniors and their money are often seen as easy targets,” said Attorney General Tom Horne. “In just under two years, I am pleased to announce that TASA has had a powerful and positive impact on a population of people who deserve respect, protection and dignity.”
Since its inception, TASA has received more than 2,300 calls to report potential abuse, neglect or fraud. Some of the results:
- In a consumer fraud action against American Residential Services, 102 victims were paid restitution - 89 percent of those victims were senior citizens.
- The Consumer Litigation Unit filed and/or settled five telemarketing cases in which seniors were persuaded to purchase business opportunities, and one telemarketing case where seniors were solicited to buy an identity theft program. Combined, over 500 consumer-victims were solicited by the defendants named in those cases.
- From January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012, the Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Section brought prosecutions in 29 separate cases in which the victims were elderly. Those cases represent 41 elderly victims who had been physically abused or financially exploited by 45 different defendants. Some of the cases are still ongoing.
- Drafted, presented and passed new provisions of Arizona’s Telephone Solicitation Statute (A.R.S. § 44-1276), which protects consumers from being defrauded by business scams by requiring that all sellers provide potential customers with written contracts and disclosure documents BEFORE any monies can be accepted from the consumer. The law applies no matter what method the seller uses to solicit the purchaser - telephone, Internet, mail, or even door-to-door sales.
- Partnered with Adult Protective Services to host the 2012 Annual Conference and Training of the National Adult Protective Services Association. Over 400 attendees from across the country in social services, adult protective services, law enforcement, judicial administrators, victim services, domestic violence, disability services and other business and governmental professionals received training on a broad range of subjects involving elder abuse, exploitation and community initiatives.
- Gave numerous presentations to senior and church groups, hospital employees, corporations, and other organizations to create an awareness of the growing epidemic of abuse and exploitation of seniors and educate the aging population of their rights and the enforcement processes of the Attorney General’s Office.
- Created a summary of registries so that anyone interested in hiring a caregiver can see whether a potential provider was found guilty of elder abuse. The registry can be found in the “Senior Resources” tab on the Attorney General’s website (azag.gov).
Anyone with a question or concern about financial exploitation, neglect or physical abuse of a senior can call 602.542.2124 or 800.352-8431 (outside Maricopa County).
The AG’s office provides presentations around senior scams, life care planning, identity theft, and security scams. For more information about TASA or scheduling a presentation, please visit: https://www.azag.gov/seniors.