Last week, a state Supreme Court judge in Albany sentenced five people who deliberately targeted older people for scams for home repair and other work that was never done. The five were prosecuted for under state “hate crimes” statutes. A hate crime is defined as one in which criminals deliberately target their victims because of their race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. Hate crimes carry greater penalties.
Some of the victims included a 90 year old woman with Alzheimers and a Korean War veteran who just lost his wife. There were about a dozen victims during eighteen months of the crime spree. One of the criminals sentenced was a 61 year old man with a walker and using an oxygen tank who pleaded for mercy. The judge noted though that many of his victims were just as frail and he gave him a sentence of 8 to 16 years in jail.
Some of the seniors did not come forward about the crimes because of fear they would lose their independence. An assistant District Attorney in Albany County told the Albany Times Union, “We had victims say to us point blank that they did not want to tell anyone what happened for fear that their family would remove them from their home.”