STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Two Statesboro women face charges after police say they signed on to care for a senior citizen just to receive his Social Security. Police say the crime is more and more common.
Police say the arrests they made this week trace back to a man they found huddled under a tree. In his 70′s, legally blind, while his registered caregivers continued to cash his monthly check.
Police call this the flip side of human trafficking - a side many of us might not realize happens every day.
Sgt. Rosalyn Byrd got the report in August. She got the man into good care then started checking through his finances. She says the answer’s always in the money.
“When I saw that he had 46 cents in his account, but he was receiving Social Security. I had to backtrack where did the money go and how long it had been gone for,” Sgt. Byrd said.
Jail records show police charged Mae Helen Littles and Erica Mumford with Elder Abuse/Exploitation. Sgt. Byrd says the victim is one of many used by people who sign up as care givers for the senior’s monthly income.
She says culprits don’t always keep the victim long term.
“Instead of calling the police or taking him to the hospital, she dropped him back off on the street and left him,” Sgt. Byrd said. “Almost like a stray dog.”
Sgt. Byrd investigated elder abuse and caregiver fraud in Atlanta and South Florida before coming to Statesboro. Statesboro’s police chief says the crime has become rampant but often overlooked.
“The people like this who’re most likely to be exploited are the ones who don’t have family to take care of them,” Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead said.
Littles and Mumford remain in the Bulloch County jail.
Sadly, Sgt. Byrd says she has plenty more cases under investigation.