Image Credit: Richard Wheeler
Over a year has gone by since my book The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse was published, and I'm happy to report that it's still making an impact in the fight against elder exploitation. Last week Portsmouth, New Hampshire's Sea Coast Online writer Elizabeth Dinan reported on a local case of undue influence featured in The Wolf at the Door and interviewed the man who stood up to stop it.
The story concerns the late Geraldine Webber, a senior with dementia and a $2 million estate. Webber was supposedly "befriended" by an area policeman who then became the prime beneficiary of the senior's will after a visit to the estate attorney. A judge later ruled that Webber was the victim of undue influence.
Along the way, though, it took one man's courageous stand to point out and prevent exploitation. Another Portsmouth police officer, Webber's neighbor John Connors, witnessed wrongdoing afoot and trusted his instincts: he reported it to his superiors in the department. Unfortunately, he initially faced punishment for doing the right thing. But Connors, a veteran cop, was ultimately vindicated, and the truth won out.
As the old aphorism goes, "The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine." In the case of Geraldine Webber, it took years of denial and unfair treatment of a whistleblower, but justice did prevail. We're thankful for whistleblowers like John Connors - they don't give up, even when faced with adversity. And for victims of elder financial abuse and their families, he's shown exactly what needs to be done: stand up, speak out, and don't back down.
We salute John Connors for his strong commitment to justice and looking out for his vulnerable neighbor. And our gratitude goes out to journalist Elizabeth Dinan for her work in telling his story so that others can take courage and fight back against elder abuse.