Man charged with defrauding elderly mum of $1m

A man has been charged with defrauding a staggering sum from his elderly, ill mother who did not have capacity to grant him permission.A man has been charged with defrauding his mother of more than $1m as police urge the community “to stay vigilant” towards signs of elder abuse. Police allege the 64-year-old Melbourne man transferred more than $1.14m from his 83-year-old mother’s account into his own between 2014 to 2018. The Melbourne man allegedly used his Queensland mother’s debit card to make over $150,000 in unauthorised purchases and withdrawals, leaving the pensioner’s account almost empty. Police allege the Ashmore woman, who was ill, did not have the capacity to give her son – who did not hold power of attorney – permission to access her funds. In January last year, detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group and Crime and Intelligence Command began investigating after a complaint was made from the Public Trustee on behalf of the woman. Last week, detectives flew to Melbourne to conduct a search warrant at the man’s Elwood address.He was later charged with one count of fraud greater than $100,000 and is due to appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court on July 4. Detective Superintendent Lance Vercoe, from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group, said allegations of elder abuse were “disturbing” and urged people to stay vigilant of the signs. “In all of my 42 years of policing, I find these types of offences the most gut wrenching and disturbing, that someone could treat their loved ones this way,” he said. “I would recommend that the elderly and vulnerable never feel ashamed and to take control if this behaviour occurs and always reach out to a support person or friend.”The Public Trustee and CEO, Samay Zhouand, said almost all cases of elder abuse occurred within family relationships.“It’s devastating, but over 80 per cent of financial elder abuse reports in Queensland involve family or friends mismanaging their role as attorney.” he said. “We all have a role in raising awareness of elder abuse and financial fraud to reduce the risk of elder abuse in the community.”It comes as Wednesday marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.It is estimated one in six older Australians experience some form of elder abuse. It can be emotional, financial, physical or sexual. It can also result from neglect.“Whether we are nine or 90, we all deserve to be safe, equal and respected. To prevent elder abuse from happening, we must understand how it works, and the underlying attitudes, structures and beliefs that drive it,” Caxton Legal Centre CEO Cybele Koning said.If you know someone or are a victim of elder abuse or financial abuse and the matter’s not urgent, contact the elder abuse helpline on 1300 651 192. Originally published as Man charged with defrauding his 83-year-old mother of more than $1m