Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

By Jessica Morgan, Jarell Hunt, and Christopher Pallanch

We previously talked about recent changes to Oregon law and FINRA rules relating to elder abuse prevention and the prosecution of financial services companies for noncompliance (discussed here and here). This article focuses on The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (the “Act”), which went into effect on October 18, 2017. The purpose of the Act is to increase the federal government’s role with respect to preventing elder abuse, protecting victims, and prosecuting perpetrators of elder abuse crimes.

The Act generally improves protection of elders by requiring:

  • increased training of federal prosecutors and investigators;
  • increased data collection and information sharing of abuse and fraud cases;
  • establishment of an elder justice coordinator position in both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice; and
  • increased penalties for criminals who target seniors, where the fraud involved telephonic, email, or electronic message marketing (collectively, “telemarketing”).

While the Act does not define precisely how the penalties for elder abuse are enhanced, it nevertheless makes clear that there is now a mandatory forfeiture of the assets obtained by telemarketing fraud and the assets used to perpetrate that fraud. Essentially, the Act criminalizes the new ways that seniors are defrauded with modern technology.

The Act aims to prevent somewhat different harms from those “vulnerable person” protections implemented under ORS Chapter 59 and the new and amended FINRA rules. Nevertheless, certain conduct, such as defrauding the elderly, could also constitute “abuse” under ORS Chapter 59, and FINRA rules.

For further questions concerning elder abuse regulation and its impact on the financial services industry, please contact Jessica Morgan or Christopher Pallanch.

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