States Consider New Penalties for Financial Elder Abuse

The crime against the elderly that is growing the fastest is financial abuse. Last year, 33 states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico considered measures against the financial abuse of a senior citizen.  As the New York Times reports, several states are considering stiffer penalties for this kind of abuse.

Alabama passed the Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act, which requires that brokers and investment advisers who believe that a senior is being exploited to report the possibility to Human Resources Department along with the Securities Commission.

Idaho added exploitation to the definition of neglect of an older adult. In Illinois, victims of financial exploitation now have seven years to investigate, report, and prosecute their abusers. This is up from the previous statute of limitations, which was three years.

However, some states do not define the financial exploitation of an elderly adult as s specific crime.  There are about a dozen states, including Washington, that do not have provisions counting financial exploitation as a crime – and must prosecute the perpetrators under the crime of theft. This has less serious jail time for the offenders than states who have specified such wrongdoing as an explicit crime.

However, Washington Representative Roger Goodman (D) sponsored legislation that would not only increase penalties for the financial abuse of seniors, it would make the crimes easier to investigate and add neglect to the potential charges a perpetrator might face. On Tuesday, the legislation passed by unanimous vote.

If you believe that yourself or an elderly loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, contact the offices of Schenk Law. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.