Jeffrey T. Carr, 39, and Joseph T. Carr, 65, were arrested Tuesday by investigators with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Fraud Unit on exploitation charges. Jeffrey Carr was also arrested on four counts of theft by taking and Joseph Carr on one count of theft by receiving stolen property.
Jeffrey Carr remains in the county jail on a $500,000 bond, and his father is held on a $100,000 bond.
According to warrants, Jeffrey Carr is accused of taking $2.8 million from the elderly woman by influencing her to sign over her power of attorney and accepting fees, rent payments, commissions, legal fees and other charges.
He is also accused of moving her to a rehab facility in Gainesville, “essentially isolating her from contact with her daughters and friends, despite the victim’s initial request to go to a facility close to her residence in Cobb County,” according to a release by the Sheriff’s Office.
Jeffrey Carr later took her out of the assisted living home in Gainesville and moved her into a bedroom in his parents’ home.
Joseph Carr is accused of accepting a total of $691,920 from the elderly woman’s accounts between 2011 and 2013.
Some of the money has been recovered by investigators while working with the Cobb District Attorney’s Office and Adult Protective Services through seizures of bank accounts in the name of Jeffrey Carr and the woman.
Search warrants executed by the county fraud unit resulted in investigators confiscating four Cadillacs and two Rolex watches, which they believe were purchased with the woman’s money.
Nancy Bodiford with the Sheriff’s Office said investigators can’t say exactly how much money has been confiscated, but they have frozen several bank accounts totaling $1.5 million.
She also said the case has been “extremely active and ongoing,” and information about the relationship between Carr and the elderly woman cannot be released.
Anyone with information on other exploitation incidents or the abuse of elders, can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (770) 499-4752.
Ways to avoid being scammed
Pat King with the Georgia Division of Aging said crimes like the ones Jeffrey and Joseph Carr were arrested for are “exploding.” And the elderly are particularly at risk because they are more often targeted by swindlers.
“We’re seeing more and more (cases),” she said Wednesday. “In fact, I’d say 90 percent of the crimes against the elderly are money driven.”
She said in the past cases involving elderly victims and their powers of attorney have been civil matters, but that doesn’t give an individual the authority to steal from someone.
King said predators can be clever in how they gain trust from a senior citizen.
“They will make friends with you and slowly but surely isolate you, gain your trust, and that’s when they start appearing on bank accounts, financial statements or assets,” she said. “We just need to start looking out better for our older population.”
King recommends taking these steps to avoid elder abuse or exploitation for the general public:
• Get on “Do Not Call” lists;
• Don’t sign any document just placed in front of you;
• Shred anything that comes in the mail with personal or banking information on it;
• Get caller ID;
• Get periodic credit checks;
• Never provide personal information to someone over the phone;
• Have a trustworthy person look over bank statements;
• Get an attorney who specializes in laws that apply to senior citizens; and
• Stay in touch with elderly family members.