Elder abuse squad getting slammed with cases - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Elder abuse squad getting slammed with cases

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Retirement should be spent on cruise ships and playing bingo, but police say, thieves see the golden years as golden opportunities.

Scams against the elderly are on the rise.  And there are so many different scams, police have a hard time keeping up.

Since 2008, elder abuse cases have risen almost 300%. 

Honolulu Police and prosecutors teamed up that year to form an Elder Abuse Justice Squad.  The size of the squad has since doubled in 2010, then expanded again last year.

The unit does not just handle scams against seniors but also physical abuse and neglect.

"The elders do not complain," says Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. "When they are physically abused, they do not complain.  And when they do complain, people don't believe them."

Kaneshiro says he wants the world to know that Hawaii is not a place that ignores crimes against the elderly. 

The unit has 9 attorneys and legal aids and 13 HPD detectives who work cases involving people 60 years and older. 

"We decided, we're going to make this a rapid response team," says Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Spallina.  He is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Anytime a person is arrested for a crime against a senior, he is notified.

Trying to prevent people from becoming victims, Spallina gives seminars.  Hawaii News Now was invited to one seminar at Kahala Mall.  Spallina told participants about the various crimes targeting the elderly and what they can do about it.

One example he used, Katy Sterio.  A woman convicted of taking tens of thousands of dollars from a 73-year old man she met in Downtown Honolulu.  Spallina says she told the man her friend needed surgery but the doctor would only take cash.   An alert bank teller called police when he tried to withdrawal more money.

Sterio was ordered to pay it all back, but clearly, the scam took it's toll on the victim.  He went to every court proceeding, walking slowly, sitting quietly, occasionally shaking his head. His family says they continue to get calls from others trying to take advantage of the man.

Cases like this are so common, stacks of manila folders fill Spallina's office.  

Police Lt. John McCarthy says as soon as they solve one case, more are called in.   

If you need help, or knows someone who does, call the Elder Abuse Unit at 808-768-7536 or click here for more information.

 

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • Similar slayings draw vastly different political reaction

    Similar slayings draw vastly different political reaction

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 1:07 AM EDT2018-09-19 05:07:30 GMT
    Wednesday, September 19 2018 3:33 PM EDT2018-09-19 19:33:10 GMT
    (Luke Lu/Iowa State University via AP). In this Sept. 7, 2017, photo provided by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena poses for a photo. The former ISU golfer was found dead Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at a golf course in Ame...(Luke Lu/Iowa State University via AP). In this Sept. 7, 2017, photo provided by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena poses for a photo. The former ISU golfer was found dead Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at a golf course in Ame...

    Former inmate Collin Richards was charged with stabbing Celia Barquin to death during a random attack while she was golfing by herself in broad daylight on Monday morning.

    More >>

    Former inmate Collin Richards was charged with stabbing Celia Barquin to death during a random attack while she was golfing by herself in broad daylight on Monday morning.

    More >>
  • Trump says 'hard to imagine' Kavanaugh assaulted woman

    Trump says 'hard to imagine' Kavanaugh assaulted woman

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 12:37 AM EDT2018-09-19 04:37:34 GMT
    Wednesday, September 19 2018 3:30 PM EDT2018-09-19 19:30:43 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reacts as he testifies after questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Official Washington is scrambling Monday to assess...(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reacts as he testifies after questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Official Washington is scrambling Monday to assess...

    Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election.

    More >>

    Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election.

    More >>
  • Construction continues on the new $96 million Kona Courthouse

    Construction continues on the new $96 million Kona Courthouse

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 3:29 PM EDT2018-09-19 19:29:50 GMT
    The redesigned Keahuolo Courthouse. (Image: Hawaii Judiciary)The redesigned Keahuolo Courthouse. (Image: Hawaii Judiciary)

    Construction continues on the new Keahuolu Courthouse in Kona. 

    More >>

    Construction continues on the new Keahuolu Courthouse in Kona. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly