Alleged Fraud Highlights Special Needs

Police say a 20-year-old woman with a mental disability was taken advantage of when an acquaintance who took her to a local bank and opened a checking account.

The police report states that the suspect started writing checks from that account without her permission. Some of those checks were for as much as $400.

Local groups working with those with the developmentally disabled say it's a reminder of how important it is to protect this population.

Paula Crozier, the Executive Director of Angel Works, says, “By far, the thing that angers me the most is when somebody is out there trusting their friends, someone they feel loyal to. They are betrayed by that."

As the mother of a developmentally disabled daughter, Paula understands firsthand why that population is at risk. That’s underscored by her experiences on the job at Angel Works.

“We as a society think that someone is taking care of them. But really it's a huge job. People need to help take care of them," she said.

Crozier says those at Angel Works are full-grown adults with disabilities. They are naturally trusting. They want to be a part of the group and be accepted into mainstream society. That also makes them easy targets for predators.

Crozier said, "They are the silent people; can't advocate for themselves. They don't know how. So it is our responsibility to make sure that we are there for them."

As for that fraud case, police are not naming the man who opened the account because no charges have been brought against him at this time.

The victim is being cared for by her mother.

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