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Attorney General's Office establishes elder abuse litigation, prevention unit By Wendy Holdren Register-Herald Reporter To better protect the state's senior citizens, the West Virginia Attorney General's Office has established an elder abuse litigation and prevention unit. Under the unit, a team of seasoned civil prosecutors will be dedicated to holding accountable anyone who exploits, abuses or neglects West Virginia's seniors. The unit will also utilize a newly established hotline, email address and scam alert database to better connect seniors with the office. “Senior citizens represent the best of what West Virginia has to offer,” said Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. “Unfortunately, all too often con artists, deceptive businessmen, caretakers and even family members take advantage of our elderly friends." Morrisey said this conduct cannot be tolerated, and the unit will work to protect seniors. A release from the Attorney General's Office cited national research which estimates 10 percent of people 60 and older have experienced some form of abuse or exploitation and in many instances the conduct goes unreported, which is particularly concerning in West Virginia, as nearly 19 percent of the state's population is in this age bracket. Litigation brought by the unit will focus upon enforcing a wide variety of consumer protection laws, for which seniors are often targeted victims. Potential violations could occur at home, the automotive repair garage, hospital, nursing home, memory care facility or any number of other settings. The unit also will assist seniors with pre-need funeral contracts, powers of attorney and identifying the signs of criminal exploitation and physical abuse or neglect. Assistant attorneys general, both assigned to consumer protection and to represent other state agencies, will work with the office’s clients and county prosecutors to refer matters as appropriate. Senior citizens in need of the unit’s expertise can call 304-558-1155, email HelpForSeniors@wvago.gov , or mail P.O. Box 1789, Charleston, WV 25326. — Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren
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