Robert Matava, a decorated World War II veteran, built up a successful auto repair business after the war while he and his wife raised a family in Unionville, Connecticut. After his wife died, the Purple Heart winner moved to Florida, leaving his home and business in the control of his son. He returned to Unionville in 2010 only to find that his son would no longer allow him in his own home, leaving him “penniless,” according to a report on the website of the Connecticut Health iTeam.

“In all my 90 years, I couldn’t predict the abuse I’d suffer” at the hands of a family member, he had testified at a hearing convened by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is pushing legislation to strengthen detection and prosecution of elder abuse.

Sen. Blumenthal went on to propose legislation that would enhance existing federal protections against elder abuse. That was in 2012, and he has continued to introduce legislation on this issue every year since. Earlier this month, the Robert Matava Elder Abuse Prosecution Act of 2017 was signed into law. 

And while the case of Robert Matava was one of a family member exploiting the financial trust placed in him by his father, it is perhaps not as appalling nor as shocking as the cases of exploitation committed by court-appointed guardians that are happening all over the country.

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