Seniors vs Crime is here to help

But, you can also help them

Posted 6/6/23

Marty Jacobson, a representative from Seniors vs Crime spoke to a crowd at senior services on Tuesday, June 6.

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Seniors vs Crime is here to help

But, you can also help them


OKEECHOBEE — Marty Jacobson, a representative from Seniors vs Crime spoke to a crowd at senior services on Tuesday, June 6.

Jacobson said he got started after he retired from law enforcement. He was enjoying a quiet life as a retired man when his father passed away. Right before the funeral, Jacobson realized the mortician had taken all the gold out of his father’s mouth. He began investigating and discovered there are many crimes committed at this difficult time. Coffins are switched. Jewelry is stolen. Jacobson was horrified at the crimes he discovered all around him and when he was asked to work with Senior vs Crime, he immediately said yes. “I just like the sound of handcuffs going on bad people,” he said.

Seniors vsCrime was created as a result of a task force formed by the Florida Legislature in 1989 to report on crimes against the elderly. After holding many meetings around the state in which seniors were invited to speak and give their opinions, the task force was formed.

According to their brochure, what originally began as a crime prevention program in which seniors educated other seniors, has now evolved into a statewide program providing services to seniors who have been victimized or taken advantage of. “Law officers arrest the bad guys,” Jacobson said. “We get your money back.”
According to former Attorney General Pam Bondi, the task force utilizes volunteers, known as senior sleuths, who investigate all reports and attempt to resolve complaints received from seniors in their communities. They also assist the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and local law enforcement when requested. Another task they assume is to educate the public on common scams which target seniors. These Senior Sleuths have been credited with recovering about $40 million dollars for seniors victimized by scams.
The Senior vsCrime website explains the Senior vsCrime Project is a nonprofit organization and its primary goal is to “reduce victimization of senior citizens who are often targeted for specific crimes or scams based on their age.” All services are completely free, and all money recovered goes back to the victims.

 Jacobson gave an example of an Okeechobee woman who “met” a man from the Ukraine online. Supposedly this man was trapped there and needed $100,000 to get out. This 82-year-old woman sent the money, but the man has not showed up in Okeechobee.

He said home health aides are also a common problem. Not all, or even most aides are bad, he explained, but when they are, they can cause a lot of problems. He has heard of the aides marrying their client of their death bed so they can inherit. He has heard of thefts of all sorts.
Senior Sleuths are volunteers who come from many different backgrounds. Some may have been former police officers, while others may have been homemakers. Some may be athletes, and some may be bedridden. There are different types of volunteers ranging from office staff to public speakers to being the eyes and ears of the Attorney General’s Office. There is no minimum number of hours a volunteer can work. Any volunteer is appreciated. Senior Sleuths also get to meet other seniors who have the same goals and mind set. They want to help others and enjoy seeing justice served. "I really need some retired mafia," said Jacobson. "Someone who can break kneecaps for us."

Seniors who volunteer with the SVC Project must meet basic requirements:

• They should be age 50 or older; however, younger volunteers may be accepted.

• They must have a genuine desire to help others.

• They must have no criminal history.

• They MUST agree to hold the personal information of clients and fellow Sleuths information strictly confidential.

“We can’t have third party complaints,” said Jacobson. “The victim has to sign the complaint, but they do not have to worry. We are very discreet and private.”

The phone number for the Okeechobee office is 863-763-7924, and the toll-free number for the state of Florida is 800-203-3099. 

Seniors vs Crime