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Proposed Bill to Fight Senior Fraud

by on February 18, 2015

At Wattel & York, we firmly believe that elder abuse is among the worst types of transgressions. Our Phoenix-based law firm considers fighting elder abuse to be a top priority. Our expert legal team has represented the rights of senior citizens who have suffered from financial exploitation, physical abuse, nursing home neglect, and all other forms of elder abuse. If you believe a family member could be a victim of elder abuse, it’s imperative to contact our attorneys right away so we can begin fighting for justice on your behalf.

Victims of elder abuse already have legal rights and options, but a proposed bill might give victims additional resources. It is also intended to stem the growing incidences of financial exploitation of senior citizens.

Bill would target financial exploitation of seniors

Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the Aging Committee Chair on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging and Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee. Earlier this year, Sen. Collins introduced the idea of proposing a new bill to combat the growing “epidemic” of financial exploitation of seniors. Although Sen. Collins has yet to draft the bill, her committee held a hearing regarding the matter earlier in February. Sen. Collins proposes that the bill would require states to develop a more effective system of reporting elder abuse cases to the federal government. Additionally, it would provide for grants to promote anti-abuse initiatives by facilitating the funding of legal services.

Sen. Collins’ remarks on her proposed bill came shortly after her committee unanimously passed a federal grants package. The grants are to be distributed to state governments to fund elder programs under the Older Americans Act.

Alarming trend of elder abuse

It has been estimated that senior citizens are defrauded of $2.9 billion every year in the U.S. alone. In recent years, experts have noted an increase in tax refund schemes, Medicare fraud, Social Security fraud, Jamaican lottery scams, and various phone scams, all of which target a vulnerable population. Furthermore, studies have found that the majority of elderly victims never report instances of fraud. In fact, the AARP discovered that up to 75 percent of individuals aged 55 and over had never reported an instance of fraud, despite having been victimized.

In response to this alarming trend, last year, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging created a special hotline for the reporting of fraudulent activities targeting senior citizens. The hotline was launched in November 2014, and in just a few months, it had received more than 1,900 reports of fraud. The fraud hotline instructs victims on how to report the crime, how to address the situation, and how to prevent future problems. Victims of fraud in Phoenix can also turn to elder abuse lawyers for personalized support and legal assistance.

Stopping elder abuse in Phoenix

The Phoenix elder abuse lawyers at Wattel & York strongly condemn the victimization of one of our most vulnerable groups of citizens. Our seniors have earned the right to be afforded dignity and respect, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that those who violate those rights are punished accordingly.

If you believe your elder loved one has been victimized by an in-home caregiver, nursing home staff, or even another family member, contact Wattel & York today at 1-877-225-5562. Our lawyers will conduct a free case review to determine if filing a senior fraud lawsuit is appropriate for Arizona families.

Resources:

Financial Advisor, New Law Possible To Combat Elder Financial Abuse, http://www.fa-mag.com/news/new-law-possible-to-combat-elder-financial-abuse-20625.html

USA Today, Tips to fight senior scams from Sen. Bill Nelson, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/12/22/fraud-seniors-elderly-retirees-scam/20662411/

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