Norton woman admits to financial exploitation of a senior
A Norton woman pleaded guilty to charges of identify theft, credit card fraud, and obtaining money by false pretenses Tuesday in Wise County Circuit Court.
Amy Lynn Hopson will have to spend one year in jail, pay restitution to the victim, and complete 15 years of probation.
The Wise County Department of Social Services received information about potential financial exploitation of a senior or incapacitated adult in early 2016, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp. An investigation found Hopson had used an elderly person's identity to open credit cards and made purchases of more than $10,000. Adult protective services then contacted the Wise County Sheriff's Office for further investigation. Hopson confessed her crimes to investigators, Slemp added.
"Last month, we formed the Southwest Virginia Senior Abuse Task Force to combat the abuse and financial exploitation of our region's most vulnerable citizens," Slemp said. "Financial exploitation of seniors is far too common and unfortunately the number of these crimes is significantly underreported. Roughly five million people across the country are affected by elder abuse annually, but only one in twenty-four cases are actually reported to police. Not only are these cases underreported, the circumstances make them difficult to prosecute."
Hopson was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 19 years suspended.