In South Carolina, financial exploitation includes, but is not limited to, “an improper, unlawful, or unauthorized use of the funds, assets, property, power of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship of a vulnerable adult by a person for the profit or advantage of that person or another person.” If this has occurred, the victim, the victim’s lawful representatives, or the victim’s estate, may bring a civil lawsuit for damages on his or her behalf. A Court may award damages, reverse transactions, nullify improper changes to wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations, and possibly forfeit the wrongdoer’s expected inheritance.
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The victim is often unable or unwilling to report the exploitation. Many exploiters are family members or caregivers, which causes a victim to acquiesce so as not to “rock the boat.” If you notice a loved one exhibiting the signs of exploitation, contact Greenville DSS’s Adult Protective Services Unit at their hotline number (864) 467-7750. The Greenville County Sheriff Criminal Investigations Division has an Economic Crimes Unit that can also investigate financial exploitation. Call (864) 467-5300 to be put in touch with one of their investigators.
Signs of exploitation can include:
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