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Arizona granted $1.5 million to combat elder fraud and abuse

(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The Department of Justice has granted Arizona $1.5 million to attack elder abuse and financial fraud across the state, U.S. Attorney Michael Bailey announced Thursday.

Apache Behavioral Health Services, Inc. will receive $499,252 of the grant money, while $1.03 million will go to the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University.

Over $9 million has been given out across the nation by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs to combat the issue.

“Predators who target older citizens for fraud, financial scams and physical abuse are particularly despicable, turning the golden years of our nation’s seniors into a period of poverty and suffering,” Attorney General William Barr said in a press release.

Arizona Adult Protective Services reportedly handles approximately 10,000 cases a year in Maricopa County alone.

An estimated 10% of adults age 65 and older will experience a form of elder abuse each year, according to the Department of Justice’s website. Officials say the amount of abuse across the nation is likely higher, as cases often go unreported.

In March, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General conducted the largest elder fraud sweep, charging more than 400 defendants for elder fraud schemes that led to a loss of more than a billion dollars.

“The Department of Justice is taking aggressive action, pursuing all legal avenues to bring these criminals to justice and supporting law enforcement officials and service providers as they ferret out scam artists, arrest abusers, and bring aid and relief to victims,” Barr said.

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