Sep 16 2016

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to help reduce crimes against America’s seniors through expanded education, prevention and prosecution tools. The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act cleared the committee unanimously, and includes language by Senator Tillis that would require the Attorney General to publish best practices for improving guardianship proceedings and model legislation relating to guardianship proceedings for the purpose of preventing elder abuse.
“We must do everything we can to stop all the forms of abuse and exploitation against senior citizens in North Carolina and across the country,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m proud to cosponsor commonsense, bipartisan legislation that will help prevent elder abuse and strengthen penalties against those who try to take advantage of our senior citizens.”
The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act expands data collection and information sharing to better prevent and respond to all forms of elder abuse and exploitation, including financial crimes against seniors.  Specifically, the bill increases training for federal investigators and prosecutors and calls for the designation of at least one prosecutor in each judicial district who will be tasked with handling cases of elder abuse.  It also ensures that the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Justice Department will both have an elder justice coordinator.  Further, the bill improves information sharing among government agencies and between federal, state and local authorities to develop best practices in the fight against elder financial exploitation.  Finally, the bill increases penalties for perpetrators of such crimes – including mandatory forfeiture – to deter future offences.
The bipartisan 3,000-member Elder Justice Coalition called the bill, “one of the most comprehensive and meaningful bills ever developed to address the rapidly increasing problem of elder financial abuse in America.” The bill also has the support of the Alzheimer’s Association, the National District Attorneys Association,  Consumers Union, SIFMA, the 60 Plus Association, Leading Age, and the National Center for Victims of Crime, as well as the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.