Perth Man Commits Financial Abuse On Vulnerable Pensioner

An elderly Perth man has been charged with forming a fraudulent scheme after attempting to steal £51,000 from the estate of a 93-year-old local pensioner.

74-year-old, James Heggie, who appeared before the Sheriff Court in private, made no plea and his case has continued due to making further inquiries and was freed on bail in the interim.

The charge against Heggie alleges that he befriended the pensioner, Jane Scott, to gain her trust in order to persuade and assist her to revoke the Power of Attorney, held by the pensioner’s granddaughter, and ultimately transfer £40,000 of her estate to Heggie’s own account. But Heggie confirmed the money would be ‘held in trust’.

It is also believed that Heggie visited Scott when she was admitted to the Perth Royal Infirmary, then endeavoured to influence another person to draft a new Will for the OAP.

Further alleged accusations have been brought against Heggie in which he pretended that her last wishes made in her last Will and testament were her last final Will which purported to bequeath the majority of her estate to Heggie.

It later emerged that the document in question was a fake as the signatures had been forged.

The fraudulent activity was claimed to have taken place between July 7th 2017 and December 18th 2017 at houses in Balhousie Street and Oakbank Crescent and the Nationwide Building Society in Perth.

Financial abuse of an elderly person is becoming more and more common whereby innocent unsuspecting pensioners’ funds are an easy target for fraudsters wanting to cash in on their equity.

Sadly, sometimes elder abuse is rife when an OAP is receiving insufficient care despite being financially capable to fund their own care. They may also not have any friends or family to care for them and look out for them and protect them from those wanting to pilfer their hard-earned money.

There are many reasons why elder abuse occurs. Some are a spontaneous act whereby the perpetrator takes full advantage of an opportunity when it comes up – but in other cases it can be premeditated and calculated.

Furthermore, there is also a continuing threat to the older population when appointing an attorney whom they trust to look after them is ever-growing.

Over the past year, there has been an influx in the number of people, in trusted positions, exploiting the people they should be protecting from financial harm.

The Government carried out almost 50% more investigations concerning abuse complaints regarding lasting powers of attorney (LPA) in 2018.

In total, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) received 5,245 claims that attorneys were abusing their donor’s finances last year – this is more claims of abuse than the OPG has ever had to deal with.

With the Office for National Statistics ‘Overview of the UK Population: July 2017’ reporting the UK population is getting older with 18% aged 65 and over and 2.4% aged 85 and over, along with mental incapacity – has meant financial abuse of this vulnerable group is on the increase.

Are you seeing a rise in elder abuse? Are you seeing more people being exploited by their attorneys?


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