On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, AG Racine Announces Settlement of Investigation Into Allegations That Car Dealership Financially Exploited 86-Year-Old

OAG Encourages DC Residents to Report Suspected Elder Abuse, Neglect & Financial Exploitation  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced the positive resolution of an investigation—stemming from a report by a community member—into allegations that a Maryland car dealership financially exploited an 86-year-old District resident. He also encouraged District residents, organizations, and businesses to learn how to spot elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and to report these harmful practices to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).  

OAG opened an investigation of an allegedly exploitative sale that the car dealership, Ourisman Chevrolet in Marlow Heights, made to a senior after the office received a tip from a concerned resident. As a result of OAG’s investigation, the dealership is providing full restitution to the 86-year-old. In the District, it is illegal to use deception, intimidation, or undue influence to cause a vulnerable adult or elderly person to assume a legal obligation for the benefit of someone else. 

“Older Americans should be able to live their golden years with dignity, yet too many suffer in silence because of elder abuse and financial exploitation,” said AG Racine. “Stopping this suffering starts with raising awareness and learning the warning signs of elder abuse, and my office will hold those who take advantage of older Americans accountable. Please, watch out for your senior loved ones, friends, and neighbors—and reach out to the authorities if you’re worried about their safety or their physical or financial wellbeing.” 

Maryland Car Dealership Allegedly Exploits District Senior 

Ourisman Chevrolet of Marlow Heights, a car dealership that caters to District residents, allegedly violated the District’s financial exploitation and consumer protection laws when its unlicensed salesperson sold a car under unfavorable terms to an 86-year-old. OAG’s investigation revealed that the senior, who rarely drove, paid full sticker price for the car, was upsold on expensive and unnecessary add-ons, and received an extremely high interest rate on his car loan. The transaction did not appear to be for the senior’s benefit and someone else had filled out parts of the loan paperwork—even doubling his actual monthly income—leading to doubts about whether he fully understood the complex transaction. As part of a settlement with OAG, the dealership agreed to fully comply with District and Maryland laws moving forward and abide by the terms of a separate settlement with the senior, which included restitution.  

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day occurs each year on June 15 to raise awareness about a problem that occurs around the world but is too often ignored and hidden from public view. If an elder or other vulnerable adult is being abused, they may be reluctant to report it because of fear or retaliation, lack of physical or cognitive ability, or because they do not want to get the alleged abuser in trouble. Friends, family members, and neighbors can help protect their loved ones and members of their community by learning how to detect, prevent, and report abuse. Click here to learn about potential warning signs and actions to take to help prevent elder abuse.  

OAG’s Work to Fight Elder Abuse 

With over 87,000 adults over the age of 65 residing in the District, OAG is committed to helping and protecting area seniors and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In 2019, OAG established a standalone Elder Justice Section (EJS) to pursue civil cases, and provide informational resources to residents about their rights, common scams, and other relevant issues. EJS can obtain restitution, temporary or permanent injunctions and civil fines through civil enforcement of the Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults and the Elderly Act. In 2018, OAG hired the District’s financial exploitation criminal prosecutor. OAG also does a great deal of community outreach, helping raise awareness of financial exploitation and all forms of elder abuse, to increase reporting. In the District, residents can reach out to Adult Protective Services with concerns about possible elder abuse or neglect and can contact OAG to report suspected financial exploitation.

Resources 

If you are or know a District senior or vulnerable adult experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, immediately get help by: 

  • Filing a report with Adult Protective Services (APS) by calling the 24-hour hotline at (202) 541-3950.   
  • Filing a police report with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) by calling the police at (202) 265-9100.   
  • Contacting OAG’s Elder Justice Section at (202) 727-3807 or elderjustice@dc.gov.   
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