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Seniors are often the target of scams, and sadly sometimes the people defrauding them are members of their own family.

An unfortunate example of this became a recently concluded case by members of the Thunder Bay Police Service’s Crimes Against Seniors Division.

In September of 2022, concerned citizens contacted Senior Division investigators about suspected financial abuse against a senior. The suspect was a family member who was believed to have been misusing their authority as the victim’s Power of Attorney.

It was believed the suspect had been diverting funds, intended for their mother’s daily needs and care facility payments, to themselves.

With assistance from witnesses and multiple businesses, investigators were able to determine that more than 700 fraudulent transactions, totalling more than $80,000, were made between January 2016 and December 2022.

A 47-year-old Thunder Bay man now faces charges of Theft Over $5,000, and Fraud Over $5,000 and Theft By Power of Attorney. A court date has been set for May 19, 2023.

The name of the accused is being withheld to preserve the privacy of the victim.

The intention of sharing this story is not to discourage people from having a Power of Attorney. Everyone should consider having a Power of Attorney in place, regardless of your age or financial situation. In fact, because this accused was a Power of Attorney, this gave Police more authority to pursue charges.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you trust the right to make financial or health decisions for you, should you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

However, there are things that should be considered to avoid Power of Attorney theft or fraud. These include:

• Naming two people that you trust, who can act jointly as your Attorneys,
• Never have joint bank accounts or other investments with your Power of Attorney.
• Having monthly expenses come out automatically.
• If you suspect fraud on your account, call your financial institution and ask about any questionable activity.
• Having regular conversations with your Attorney about your financial affairs, and
• Remember one can always consult a Lawyer for advice.

For more information on Elder Abuse, Power of Attorneys and what your rights are, please refer to the following:
or the Senior Safety Line 24/7 at 1-866-299-1011, which has trained counsellors.

March is Fraud Prevention Month. To learn more about some of the more common scams and how you can protect yourself, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at:

Police ask that you take time to speak with your more vulnerable family members and friends who may be at a greater risk of being targeted by scammers.

Thunder Bay