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Police using woman who died penniless as a case study for senior fraud

Last Updated Oct 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm EDT

It was a case of elder fraud that tore a family apart — Royale Klimitz died penniless after her own son stole more than $500,000 from her bank account.

At Toronto Police College on Thursday, the Markham woman’s story was used as case study to teach officers how to investigate a crime against seniors that is happening far too often.

In Klimitz’s case, the investigating officer had virtually no experience with elder fraud, but he spent dozens of hours poring over bank records and meeting with the Crown on how to proceed.

Const. Jason Peddle’s perseverance paid off when Klimitz’s son David was convicted.

“People don’t talk about this,” Peddle told CityNews. “It’s very under-reported. It’s something we don’t get a lot across our desk.”

Elder abuse is usually committed by someone the victim knows and they are often reluctant to turn their abusers in. In her statement, Klimitz, who was 91 at the time, told police she still loved her son.

He left only $14 in her bank account and more than $20,000 in unpaid bills.

“He gambled it away. He lived a huge, high lifestyle,” said Kilmitz’s son, Ron Klimitz. “He just used it for his own personal gain.”

David Klimitz was sentenced to three years in prison but only served a fraction of that. He was released after four months.

“I believe the police services did an excellent job,” Ron Klimitz. “I believe the correctional system now has let me down.”