Richard Overton, America's oldest living World War II veteran at age 112, had his personal bank account drained, according to his cousin Volma Overton Jr.
"How could someone do this to Richard?" he asked. "He's such a special person to Austin and to the country, and now someone is robbing him?"
Volma Overton discovered the issue Thursday and said he was "quite upset" to learn that a thief accessed the supercentenarian's Social Security number and checking account number. The money, he said, was used to purchase savings bonds with Treasury Direct. Over the past year, there have been seven deductions to the account. "We don't know who did it," he said.
The Austin Police Department said Friday that investigators are "working closely with the Overton family," who have filed a report. Volma Overton hopes the case can be resolved soon and said he has faith the money will be recovered. He did not disclose the amount that had been stolen.
No money from the family's online fundraising page was taken. In 2016, the Overton family created a GoFundMe account to hire round-the-clock home health care to keep him living independently. That account has accumulated more than $300,000 from donors around the world.
In May, Austinites celebrated Richard Overton's 112th birthday with a community block party on Richard Overton Avenue in East Austin.
Over the years, Overton, who enjoys smoking cigars on his front porch and greeting passers-by, has enjoyed celebrity status. This year, Overton traveled to Washington to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture, thanks to billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert Smith, who made the trip possible. This spring, local artist Chris Rogers painted a portrait of Overton on a utility box in front of an East Austin mural featuring African-American and Latino cultural icons.
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, 1 in 20 older adults have reported some form of financial abuse.
"Keep Richard in your prayers," Volma Overton said Friday. "We'll get through this."
This article is written by Nancy Flores from Austin American-Statesman and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.