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The most common perpetrators of elder financial abuse are family members.

Florence was 93 years old when she discovered that she was a victim of elder abuse at the hands of her great-grandson. Each month, he would transfer most of her Social Security check to his own bank account, leaving Florence with $200 a month to live on. She could not afford even the most basic items, such as clothing, deodorant or her $3 copay for her medication.

Florence began working with CELJ attorney Sarah Duval and social worker Katie Earl based on a referral from an adult day program. With the help of CELJ, Florence found that over $14,000 had been taken from her. Although it was a difficult decision, Florence decided to let CELJ present the case to the District Attorney’s office. Her great-grandson pleaded guilty to a felony and had to serve jail time and pay restitution.

Not every victim of elder abuse is as strong and resolute as Florence was. There are many victims who never come forward. Every year, an estimated 5 million seniors are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

John sitting in his power wheelchair

Justice for John Flickner

The Center for Elder Law & Justice played an important role assisting an elderly Niagara Falls man return to his apartment after he was initially evicted for using medical marijuana. The story has been reported extensively by local media, the Associated Press, The Washington Post and Politico.

Our Supervising Attorney, Kevin Quinn, represented Mr. John Flickner throughout the eviction process.  When a court sided with the landlord, Mr. Flickner decided he did not want to appeal. However, Kevin was able to negotiate with the landlord, who changed its mind and allowed Mr. Flickner to return to his apartment and continue to use medical marijuana. Kevin was there when Mr. Flickner returned (pictured here), just in time for the holidays.

Justice for Patricia Hamilton Stacey


This is our client, Patricia Hamilton Stacey, with her new winter coat and hat. We were able to purchase this for her (along with a scarf, another hat, and gloves) after CELJ made an application to the Western New York Coalition Pooled Trust Remainder Fund. When beneficiaries of this pooled supplemental needs trust die before using all of their assets, the remainder is added to a fund to help Western New Yorkers who are disabled. Patricia was so grateful she was crying, saying that Santa had come early, and thanking Jesus.

Katie and Patricia standing next to each other


John is a 70-year-old Veteran. He received a notice from the housing authority stating that he was responsible for thousands of dollars in back rent and that his current rental rate would also be raised. He was told that his Veteran’s benefits, which he received for being exposed to Agent Orange, should have been included in the initial calculation of his rent.

John struggled to make the higher rent payments, as well as pay a portion of the alleged back rent. He was unable to pay for basic necessities and could no longer do any activities outside of the home with his friends. The payments were making it impossible for him to live.

John contacted CELJ and worked with our housing unit. Paralegal Melissa Woods discovered that his Veteran’s benefits for exposure to Agent Orange should have been exempt from the calculation of his rent, and advocated on John’s behalf. She was able to get his rent lowered, and John received a check for $5072, which was the amount he had already paid towards the back rent. John can now live independently and with a better quality of life.



What a difference a year can make…

The photo on the left is our client Gary in 2015. He was thin, was not getting his proper medications, had bruises and cuts on his face and he was scared. Gary was a victim of elder abuse, at the hands of his spouse. Gary’s wife physically and emotionally abused him, often hitting him with pans and calling him names. She also controlled the household finances, leaving Gary with many unmet needs.

Gary was connected with Center for Elder Law and Justice. He worked with an attorney and social worker in our Elder Abuse Prevention Unit. Through their efforts, Gary was able to leave his wife and move into a safe assisted living facility. He was able to obtain an order of protection to avoid future abuse and get benefits to make ends meet.

Gary’s story has a happy ending- he now lives in a safe environment, has clean clothes, enough food, and has gained weight. When asked about his life today at his new home, Gary said, “Here I have a chance to be me again.”

Justice for Louisette Noukeu

Louisette Noukeu came to the United States with her husband as a Cameroonian refugee. Despite the fact that her husband died before she was able to apply for naturalization, Louisette managed to obtain her US citizenship allowing her to have a better life in the United States.

The Center for Elder Law and Justice assisted her throughout the naturalization process with USCIS, and helped to have her fee waived, saving her over $800. After completing the application, interview, English test and civics test, Louisettte was naturalized as an American citizen on October 12, 2017 by Honorable Justice Hugh B. Scott during an official ceremony at Hamburg Middle School.

About her naturalization, Louisette said: “I am happy and deeply moved to become an American citizen." Louisette misses her late husband dearly and would have liked him to be present to become an American citizen with her. She is still grateful that, because of her citizenship, her daughter who stayed in Cameroon with her two grandchildren will finally be able to obtain visas to come to the United States.

Says Louisette, “Of course my life will be complete once my daughter and grandchildren will be able to join me here. Also, thank you to those who worked hard, free of charge, to help me completing the application and getting my US citizenship."

Woman and judge holding a certificate at naturalization ceremony
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