GBI investigates elder exploitation in South Georgia
COLQUITT COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) - Jean Allison Pignocco, 54, was arrested in Olive Branch, Mississippi and booked into the Colquitt County Jail after allegedly exploiting two elderly adults.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Pignocco is related to both victims, who are each 85-years-old. She’s said to have unwillingly taken them from their homes in South Georgia to Mississippi.
Investigator Jamy Steinberg says money was being transferred from their accounts to others they didn’t control.
An investigation in August led the GBI and the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office to Pignocco. She’s being charged with two counts of exploitation and intimidation of a disabled adult, two counts of felony theft and one count of kidnapping.
Advocacy group Georgia Pines shared this kind of thing tends to happen when vulnerable people lose their trusted support system. Clinical Director, Dr. Richard Hughes said the pandemic may be making things worse as many seniors are more isolated because of the virus.
“I can think of several cases both professionally and personally where elderly people have been separated from their support groups because of becoming positive for COVID and people being concerned about that, and when there’s that void obviously anybody can step in,” said Dr. Hughes.
Both victims have been brought back to Georgia, and Dr. Hughes said you don’t have to prove that abuse is happening to report it. Instead, if you suspect something you’re advised to contact advocacy groups like Georgia Pines and allow the system to investigate the issue.
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