IBJNews

New law helps protect seniors from unscrupulous relatives

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state will soon have more authority to protect older Hoosiers whose family members are taking advantage of them for financial gain.

The General Assembly has expanded a senior protection law to cover situations that don’t meet the definition of theft or fall under other fraud laws.

The law—pushed by Attorney General Greg Zoeller—is meant to help seniors fight back against more subtle manipulation that happens when a caregiver, friend or loved one uses intimidation—but not force—to gain access to money, credit cards or other resources.

It takes effect on July 1.

“It means Hoosier senior citizens are more thoroughly safeguarded from these fraudulent claims and that a lifetime of savings and investments remain secure,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.

Already, state agencies can investigate insurance or financial fraud involving companies, while the attorney general handles other consumer protection cases involving transactions.

But Deputy Attorney General David Miller told lawmakers earlier this year that there remains a gap in cases that typically involve family and caregivers, who might threaten to stop helping, visiting or caring for seniors who won’t help them financially.

“We’re basically in a position where unless we can see that there’s actually been a theft of assets, we’re helpless to do anything,” Miller said.

Groups advocating for seniors—including the AARP and the Area Agencies on Aging—backed the law. The Adult Protective Services Agency reported that in 2011, seniors were the victims in 1,300 cases involving financial exploitation.

The numbers increased 80 percent between 2001 and 2011.

And a national survey by the nonprofit Investor Protection Trust found that financial fraud committed by family members and caregivers outpace those by strangers.

“We have seen an uptick in the number of our members who are victims of financially-devastating frauds, scams and intimidation ploys,” said Katie Moreau, spokeswoman for AARP Indiana. “This is particularly detrimental to seniors who don’t have the time to rebound from financial setbacks.”

She said the group plans to alert its 850,000 members statewide about the new law.

The new Indiana law allows the attorney general to file a civil action against a person who financially exploits a senior and allows the court to freeze his or her assets, issue an injunction to protect the senior, and order repayment and additional restitution.

A court can also order $5,000 fines, which can increase to $10,000 if a judge finds the violation was committee by a person the senior trusted.

Seniors who feel victimized—whether by deception or intimidation or other means—can contact the attorney general’s office, Adult Protective Services or local Area Agencies on Aging.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • What If?
    This is awesome. Seniors are so vulnerable to family members. I personally know of 3 seniors who have been taken advantage of by family members within the last 6 months. Here's the problem though, what if the mental capacity of these seniors is such that they do not know that they are being taken advantage of? Can other people report the violators?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I keep wondering why I keep hearing about this problem of corporations leaving America, and I never hear a reasonable proposal to lower corporate tax rates and raise personal rates on income from capital gains and dividends, especially for high earners. It is just too simple of a solution for Congress to embrace?

  2. Are you financially down and you need money to settle your dept,or you need money to start up a business or to invest on a huge business,we also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at low interest rate , loan terms determinant,Loan amount between the sum of $5,000.00 to $100,000,000.00. US Dollars And Euro. Loan for developing businesses a competitive edge/ business expansion. We Offer The Following Kinds Of Loans. Personal Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Business Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Consolidation Loan FIRST INFORMATIONS NEEDED ARE: BORROWER’S DATA’S INFORMATION,FILL AND RETURN FOR QUICK START UP PROCESS. Name:_________ Last Name:_________ Age:_________ Contact Address:_________ Country:_________ Amount Needed as Loan:_________ Loan Duration:_________ Phone Number__________ Monthly Income/Yearly Income:_________ Purpose for Loan:_________ Occupation:_________ How Soon is Loan Needed__________ Email via: albertbrownfirm@outlook.com

  3. is a disaster. SR37 already needs to be built to interstate standards between 465 and SR144. Southport Road is a mess each morning and evening.

  4. Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.

  5. This development is in addition to Allpoints Midwest 5, Aitrtek, a recent FedEx and more in Plainfield. Greenwood and Brownsburg also have similar projects.

ADVERTISEMENT