UT Health Science Center to host seminar on elder financial abuse

SAN ANTONIO (March 29, 2010) — What do lawyers, police officers and health professionals have in common? They are in a position to see financial abuse of elders and to do something about it.

On April 1, members of the three professions will come together for an all-day conference, “Fraud and Undue Influence,” in the UT Health Science Center San Antonio Auditorium’s Parman Foyer.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus will introduce the keynote speaker, Cesario “Chayo” Reyes, an expert on investigations into elder financial abuse. Reyes is founder and director of an agency he founded in Cerritos, Calif., known as Elder Financial Protective Services. The agency grew out of a special elder estate unit he led at the Los Angeles Police Department.

The conference was the brainchild of faculty member Michèle Saunders, D.M.D., and local attorney Kelly M. Cross, J.D. Both had noticed the same disturbing patterns.

“We started hearing more and more anecdotal evidence of how this grandmother was ripped off by some unscrupulous contractor or how that great aunt was financially drained by some younger family member,” said Dr. Saunders, professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Care and director of the South Texas Geriatric Education Center.

Faculty members will open the day’s sessions by discussing the cognitive impairment that can make elders physically and mentally vulnerable to financial exploitation. They are geriatric psychiatrists Donald Royall, M.D., professor of psychiatry with cross-appointments in the departments of Medicine and Family & Community Medicine, and Jason Schillerstrom, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, who is the primary psychiatric consultant for Texas Region 8 Adult Protective Services. Attorneys will speak about legal and ethical issues regarding guardianship and undue influence.
According to a National Center on Elder Abuse report, financial exploitation accounted for about 12 percent of elder abuse reports. Nearly 22 percent of all domestic elder abuse reports came from physicians or health care professionals; another 9 percent came from service providers.

“The whole idea of teaching the teachers (and practitioners) is for them to take back this knowledge and not only apply it, but share it with peers,” Dr. Saunders said. “Any awareness of this issue in any forum heightens awareness and helps more vulnerable citizens.”

Conference cosponsors include: Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center; South Texas Veterans Health Care System-Audie L. Murphy Division; the South Texas Geriatric Education Center at the UT Health Science Center; and Senior Bridge—Managed Elder Care.

Conference attendees can earn eight contact hours of continuing education credit. To register, call the South Texas Geriatric Education Center at (210) 567-7410 or (210) 567-7439, or e-mail Barbara Giles, gilesb@uthscsa.edu. Schedule follows on next page.


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 2 percent of all U.S. institutions receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced 27,000 graduates. The $753 million operating budget supports six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visitwww.uthscsa.edu.

Fraud & Undue Influence
Event Schedule

Thursday, April 1
8:00 am – 5:30 pm
UT Health Science Center Auditorium-Parman Foyer
7:00 am – 8:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:00 am – 8:10 am Welcome and Introduction
Michele Saunders, D.M.D., UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
Kelly M. Cross, J.D., National Master Guardian, Law Office of Kelly M. Cross, San Antonio, TX (moderator)

8:10 am – 9:40 am Mild Cognitive Impairment and Executive Impairment
Don Royall, M.D., UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
Jason Schillerstrom, M.D., UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX

9:40 am – 9:50 am Break

9:50 am – 11:20 am Capacity Evaluation for Guardianship Purposes and Undue Influence
Martha E. Leatherman, M.D., Dignity First®, Inc., San Antonio, TX
Katherine E. “Beth” Goethe, Ph.D., Dignity First®, Inc., San Antonio, TX

11:20 am – 12:30 pm Lunch and Lecture (classroom next door)
Ethics: Consent and Capacity
Dr. Leatherman, Kelly Cross

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Grandma’s Money…Gone with the Wind?
Chris Heinrichs, J.D., Heinrichs & DeGennaro, P.C.

1:30 pm – 1:45 pm Break

1:45 p.m. Introduction of Keynote Speaker
William McManus, Chief of Police, City of San Antonio, TX

1:45-5:15 pm Elder and Vulnerable Adult Financial Abuse Investigations
Chayo Reyes, Founder and ex-Director, LAPD’s Elder Person’s Estate, Unit, Los Angeles, Calif.; Founder and Director, Elder Financial Protective Services, Cerritos, Calif.

5:15 pm – 5:30 pm Evaluation and Adjournment



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