9th District Bill Would Make Financial Exploitation of Seniors or Disabled Persons a Criminal Offense

By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch | Nov 06, 2019

Trenton, N.J. — Sen. Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove are calling for public hearings on their legislation to create the new offense of theft by financial exploitation of a vulnerable person. The measure concerns individuals in a position of trust in relation to a senior citizen or a person with a disability – such as someone with a fiduciary obligation or a home health aide with access to financial information – who have committed a theft offense against that vulnerable person.

Crimes of financial exploitation against a senior or disabled person would be one degree greater than the most serious underlying theft offense.

The 9th District delegation called for action on the new protections after speaking at a recent senior scam seminar held in Stafford Township.

“Hundreds of our constituents attended the senior scam seminar in Stafford Township with the understanding that they or a loved one could be targeted by scam artists,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “The serious concerns raised by both residents and law enforcement at the event reinforced the need for better protections, like those offered by our legislation, for our most vulnerable citizens from financial exploitation. Thieves who deliberately prey on seniors and the disabled deserve harsher sentences, especially when they have abused a position of trust.”

They added, “We were glad to be part of the seminar in Stafford, which was highly effective in informing attendees of the severity of senior scams, the sophistication of the criminals who perpetrate these crimes and ways that individuals can better protect themselves from becoming scam victims.

“Our delegation will continue working in the Legislature to strengthen penalties for criminals who are intent on financially exploiting our most vulnerable citizens.”

Presently, S-923 is awaiting action by the Senate Judiciary Committee, while A-701, which has bipartisan sponsorship, is awaiting action by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.  —J.K.-H.

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