Follow the money.
“Follow the money” is a cliche. Everyone from pundits and politicians to lawyers and television cops use it. Indeed, it’s so overused in popular culture I even think it must predate Deep Throat’s memorable film quote in “All the President’s Men.”
But in the realm of financial exploitation, “follow the money” has a particular ring of truth. It especially helps unravel the crimes against those most vulnerable, whether they’re elderly or just have more heart than good sense such as the story out of Florida about a now deceased 43-year old lottery-made-millionaire, Abraham Shakespeare. His sad tale reveals that anyone perceived to have money is a candidate for a predator’s financial exploitation, whether they’re elderly or not. The common link is vulnerability.
Abraham Shakespeare’s concrete slab.
Even though he wasn’t elderly, Abraham Shakespeare’s story reads like many of those involving the elderly who are victimized by family, friends, financial advisers and lawyers. Shakespeare couldn’t handle his money. He also shared a similarity with the vulnerably elderly, he was a soft touch for people asking for money and like too many of the vulnerable elderly, he was easy prey for people who were supposed to be conserving his assets. See Abraham Shakespeare: Before tragedy struck, Lotto win made.
In 2006, Shakespeare won a $31 million dollar lottery. Instead of annuity payments, he took the $17 million lump sum. But the money was the worse thing that ever happened to him. It caused him more problems than he had before, including being befriended by an alleged scamster girlfiend and supposed financial adviser named DeeDee Moore.
Worse of all, though, according to police, all that money led to his murder. Several days ago, Shakespeare’s body was found under a concrete slab behind a Plant City, Florida home. Moore, who made lavish use of Shakespeare’s money while he was alive, is charged with being an accessory after the fact to first degree murder.
Ripping off Marie Long.
According to studies, people over 50 control 70 percent of the country’s wealth. It would seem, then, that as we age, we potentially become predatory targets. You don’t even have to be a millionaire lottery winner to be victimized. Take for instance, Marie Long. Her tragic and infuriatingly outrageous story is being ably reported here locally by Arizona Republic Columnist Laurie Roberts.
Marie Long once had a net worth above $1 million dollars. If you follow the money, you’ll discover where it went, especially because it’s just about all gone now. In her case, the guardians and lawyers took it. It’s not a new story. In most respects, it’s the same old song.
Fortunately, Laurie Robert’s relentless reportage is having its effect. She’s written about it multiple times starting this past October, continuing into December. See, for example, Fee case now in commissioner’s hands and in January, Woman, 88, who lost savings may get some back.
But now, just a few days ago comes the latest twist. Roberts writes about a federal racketeering suit brought on behalf of Long and other similarly-situated victims. The suit will at least, shine a spotlight on the systemic problems afflicting the supposed financial oversight of wards under a court’s supervision. Old Lady Goes to Federal Court – And Now She Has Company. At best, the racketeering suit will get some of Marie’s money back.
It’s all too much. And frankly, it’s outrageous, especially the now too familiar refrains, “Who’s minding the minders?” “Who’s watching the watchers?”
In Plant City, Florida, by following the money, a crime will be solved. It will be ugly work following a trail that led to the wrong side of a concrete slab for Abraham Shakespeare. But justice will eventually be done, even if it does come too late for him.
But in Marie Long’s case in Maricopa County, Arizona, it’s hoped that following the money trail eventually means justice comes sooner not later, while it can still do her some good.