If you thought certain nursing homes were despicable for mistreating and neglecting the elderly, this story will make your skin crawl. According to an article in the Philadelphia Daily News, a Delaware-based company called Homeward Bound is in big trouble (as they should be) for defrauding seniors into paying money for an insurance product, which promised high quality home-based care. Thousands of seniors from different states including California, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania signed up for the service and paid thousands of dollars, but later found out they had been duped.
They got no such service and the home care provider they had been assigned to said Homeward Bound did not pay them to deliver the services. The attorney generals of New York, Pennsylvania and Florida are taking legal action against this business, which had no problems preying on the worst fears of vulnerable citizens on fixed income, that they would be subjected to living in a nursing home rather than in their own homes. To give them the hope that they wouldn’t have to check into a nursing home but apparently knowing that they would never live up to the promises they were making – cold and despicable!
An article in the New York Newsday said the company has bilked hundreds of seniors in New York State. According to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Homeward Bound was engaged in a multi-million dollar scam that ensnared at least 600 senior citizens in his state. Take the example of 87-year-old Woodrow Jacobs of Hollis, N.Y., whom a Newsday reporter interviewed for the article. All Jacobs needed was a little help with doing certain tasks at home. So several years ago he paid for what he believed was “high quality home health care.”
Jacobs believed that this service would allow him to remain independent and in his own home. But last year, he heard from his provider that they weren’t going to service him anymore because Homeward Bound wasn’t paying them. Jacobs was essentially out $10,000 and had nothing to show for it.
It is an unfortunate fact that senior citizens are choice targets for scam artists. We often hear of individual crooks preying on seniors. But to think that a company would pull a multi-million dollar fraud on seniors is despicable. I hope Homeward Bound’s principals get the care they deserve, in prison. Their fraudulent scams should get them free room and board for years at one of our public institutions.
There are numerous resources for seniors offered by local, state and federal governments. Seniors may even walk up to their local senior center to get information on financial planning, Medicare or other matters. Here is an extremely comprehensive Web site that offers information, resources and tips on how seniors can protect themselves against such scams: http://www.dca.ca.gov/consumer/seniors/general_tips.shtml