The United States Congress provides victims, families, and Elder Abuse practitioners with powerful new weapons in the fight against Senior Citizen Financial Exploitation cases with the passage of Public Law 115-70-Oct. 18, 2017 – The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. This act is designed to prevent elder abuse and exploitation and improve the justice system’s response to victims in elder abuse and exploitation cases.
The Unites States Senate made the following findings to support this new law:
- The vast majority of cases of abuse neglect, and exploitation of older adults in the United States go unidentified and unreported.
- Not less than $2,900,000,000 is taken from older adults each year due to financial abuse and exploitation.
- Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation have no boundaries and cross all racial, social, class, gender, and geographic lines.
- Older adults who are abuse are 3 times more likely to die earlier than older adults of the same age who are not abused.
- Up to half of all older adults with dementia will experience abuse.
The act is designed to enhance support for Federal cases involving Elder Justice, improve data collection and Federal coordination with Local and State authorities, establish best practices for Local, State, and Federal data collection, and enhance victim assistance to elder abuse survivors. Elder abuse is includes “abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an elder (age 60 or older).
Under this Act, the Attorney General of the United States will designate in each Federal judicial district at least one Assistant United States Attorney to serve as the Elder Justice Coordinator for the district. There are 94 Federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The United States Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) implement regular and comprehensive training to FBI Agents for the investigation and prosecution of such crimes and the enforcement of laws related to elder abuse. Training materials will be extended for other law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, emergency responders, individuals working in victim services, adult protective services, social services, and public safety, medical personnel, mental health personnel, financial services personnel, and any other individuals whose work may bring them in contact with elder abuse cases. The training materials will cover conducting investigations in elder abuse cases, address evidentiary and other legal issues, and the interaction with victims and witnesses, including administrative, civil, and criminal judicial proceedings.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will appoint an Elder Justice Coordinator to coordinate and support the enforcement and consumer education efforts and policy activities. The Coordinator will serve as a central point of contact for individuals, units of local government, States, and other Federal agencies on matters relating to the enforcement and consumer education efforts of the FTC.
The Attorney General will collect from Federal law enforcement agencies, other agencies as appropriate, and Federal prosecutor’s offices statistical data related to elder abuse cases, including cases or investigations where one or more victims were elders, or the investigation involved a financial scheme or scam that was either targeted directly toward or largely affected elders, and publish the information on the Department of Justice website.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) will provide the Attorney General statistical data related to elder abuse cases investigated by the States’ adult protective services organizations.
The Act amends Section 113A of Title 18, United States Code, to include Email marketing. In this chapter, the term ‘telemarketing or email marketing’ means: A Plan, program, promotion, or campaign that is conducted to induce
- Purchases of goods or services;
- Participation in a contest or sweepstakes;
- A charitable contribution, donation, or gift of money or any other thing of value;
- Investment for financial profit;
- Participation in a business opportunity;
- Commitment to a loan; or
- Participation in a fraudulent medical study, research study, or pilot study –
- By use of one or more interstate telephone calls, emails, text messages, or electronic instant messages initiated either by a person who is conducting the plan, program, promotion, or campaign or by a prospective purchaser or contest or sweepstakes participant or charitable contributor, donor, or investor.
Mandatory Forfeiture of criminal proceeds will be imposed by a sentencing court. If convicted, the defendant will forfeit any property, real or personal, constituting or traceable to gross proceeds obtained from such offense, and any equipment, software, or other technology used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of such offense.
For additional information to find Financial Services Resources for Elder Fraud Cases, I would recommend researching:
- United States Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative: www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/elder-justice-initiative
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): https://blog.aicpa.org/2017/02/elder-financial-abuse-how-cpas-can-help-part-2.html#sthash.JzAZs2GO.dpbs
- North American Securities Administrators (NASAA): http:/nasaa.org
- Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA): https://www.sifma.org/explor-issues/senior-investors
- American Bankers Association (ABA): https://www.aba.com/Engagement/Documents/Protecting-Seniors-Partnership-Guide.pdf
- Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA): www.SaveandInvest.org