DOJ: News Release

Morrison, McGrath Offer First Line of Defense Against Financial Fraud

HELENA — State Auditor John Morrison, Attorney General Mike McGrath along with AARP Montana and Montana Senior Citizens Association (MSCA) Friday announced a new statewide law enforcement training that will be the first line of defense against senior financial fraud.

“As Montana’s consumer advocate, I am proud to be working together with Attorney General Mike McGrath, AARP Montana and MSCA to educate Montana’s law enforcement about financial fraud,” Morrison said. “Education is our best line of defense.”

Morrison and McGrath made the announcement in Great Falls with Cascade County Sheriff Kent Funyak.

“Through the law enforcement training we hope to increase awareness of the problem of securities fraud and ID theft,” said McGrath. “We also hope to teach members of local law enforcement agencies to better recognize signs of consumer abuse and how to take action against it.”

In an AARP survey of Montana members conducted during the summer of 2002 members reported:

  • 39 percent had been victims of a consumer fraud
  • 19 percent had been victimized by insurance products
  • 18 percent had been victimized by charities/donations
  • 15 percent had been victimized by investment/securities related products
  • 74 percent thought ID theft should be a priority for stronger state laws and regulations
  • 58 percent who had been victimized told others so they wouldn’t encounter the same problem

“Statistics show that financial exploitation of older Americans is on the rise,” Morrison said. “It is more important than ever to recognize the gravity of the issue and take aggressive steps to protect our senior citizens.”

The law enforcement training will give local law enforcement offices in Montana with an onsite, Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) approved training to provide them with the tools they need to identify, document, and pursue these types of criminal activities.

“The faster this type of activity is spotted and reported the better we can protect the citizens of Montana from victimization,” Sheriff Funyak said. “This POST training will help local law enforcement, statewide become better fraud fighters.”

The training is part of a statewide education program that will be conducted by the State Auditor’s Office, AARP Montana and MSCA. The training programs will be offered in 23 communities statewide from January through May.

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