Proposed Bill Would Alter Elder Abuse Laws to Stop Financial Misdeeds
Bank employees are uniquely positioned to spot instances of elder financial abuse, which cause an estimated yearly loss of $2.9 billion. However, with current bank privacy laws making the reporting of fraudulent activity challenging, the unscrupulous perpetrators who prey on seniors often are not held accountable. Only 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse against seniors is reported.
However, a bill currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs could change elder abuse laws for the better. The Senior$afe Act of 2015 would provide protection for investment advisers, banks, credit unions, broker-dealers and their staff members against administrative or civil liability. To avoid such liability, employees must be trained to spot and report suspicious activity, and such reports must be made “with reasonable care” and “in good faith,” according to the bill.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who chairs the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, introduced the legislation. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the committee’s ranking member, served as co-sponsor. The proposed legislation draws inspiration from Maine’s Senior Safe program, an effort to provide training that empowers financial professionals to spot and report the suspected financial abuse of seniors.
Strengthening Elder Abuse Laws
The bill’s introduction comes at a time of increasing efforts to strengthen regulations that protect seniors’ financial assets. The Board of Governors of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. recently approved a proposal that will require broker-dealers to retain contact information on file for a trusted individual for senior clients. The proposed regulation also would give companies the authority to freeze the investment accounts of seniors when financial fraud is suspected.
In addition, the North American Securities Administrators Association recently proposed model legislation for states that would require disclosure to adult protective services and state authorities in cases of suspected financial abuse against seniors. The proposed rules also would give brokers and advisers the option of contacting a trusted third party or delaying disbursements of funds to seniors who appear to be at risk of abuse.
Contact Experienced Elder Abuse Attorneys
Elder abuse laws are complex and are subject to frequent change. If you or a loved one are being victimized financially, contact compassionate, professional elder abuse attorneys for immediate assistance. Call (800) 328-2630 to reach the Garcia & Artigliere.