Click here to sign up for our FOX43 Blood Drive on January 17

Son charged for stealing $153,168 from 86-year-old father, officials talk elder abuse warning signs

LOWER SWATARA TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. - More than $150,000 is stolen from an 86-year-old man and police say it was his son and daughter-in-law who did it.

Chester Robert Garman III and  Kathy Alice Garman are facing charges of felony theft and access device fraud for allegedly stealing $153,168 from Chester's father over a four year period.

"This case is the fourth biggest financial case since 2004," said Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick.

Dauphin County officials are using the Garman's elder financial abuse case as a reminder for people to keep an eye on people ages 60 and older for signs of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. Reports of elder abuse in the county continue to increase year after year. So far this year, the county has received more than $1,600 reports of elder abuse.

"In Dauphin County we want to make it clear that if there are suspected abuses occurring, that we will take actions," said Hartwick. "We are communicating and we will do everything to make sure we are protecting out seniors and bring those individuals who perpetrate those crimes to justice."

In most elder abuse cases, like the Garman's, the abuse is done by someone they know and trust. The Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging says there are many signs of abuse. Anytime anyone notices anything they think is questionable, they can call the agency anonymously and they can look into it.

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo says, to help prevent financial abuse of an elder, have a power of attorney especially once someone has a caregiver, even if they are a family member. He says without it, it can be a license to steal.

"You want to have clear delineation of what the obligations are of the caregiver to the person receiving the care," said Chardo.

For more information on the Dauphin County Area Agency on Agings and how to report suspected elder abuse click here.