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WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2012 June 11, Slidell, LA June 13, Acadiana (revised) Donald Akers, Jr. Assistant District Attorney 16th Judicial District.

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Presentation on theme: "WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2012 June 11, Slidell, LA June 13, Acadiana (revised) Donald Akers, Jr. Assistant District Attorney 16th Judicial District."— Presentation transcript:

1 WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2012 June 11, Slidell, LA June 13, Acadiana (revised) Donald Akers, Jr. Assistant District Attorney 16th Judicial District of Louisiana STATE & FEDERAL LAW RE: FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION OF THE ELDERLY MANDATORY REPORTING BY BANKS & FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS

2 PROTECTING THE ELDERLY FROM FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION THE ROLE OF BANKS & FINANCIAL SERVICES  Play a key role due to the nature of their customer relationship.  Because of personal familiarity with customers, they are quick to suspect elder financial and alert authorities  Reporting financial exploitation has had increased attention at the state level, a focus consistent with an upward trend at the federal level… SOURCE: US Dept. of Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Advisory FIN-2011-A003/ Issued: February 22, 2011

3 MANDATORY REPORTING ! Reports...shall be made to any adult protection agency or to any local or state law enforcement agency... All reports shall contain the name and address of the adult, the name and address of the person responsible for the care of the adult, if available, and any other pertinent information. The adult protection agency shall have access to any financial records necessary...without unnecessary delay...and is exempt from the payment of fee otherwise required or authorized by law to obtain a record... If the adult protection agency is unable to obtain access to a record...the court shall order access... WHAT ARE WE REPORTING?

4 LOUISIANA LAW: MANDATORY REPORTS REQUIRED FOR ALL La. R.S. 15:1504 MANDATORY REPORTS AND IMMUNITY ANY PERSON...having cause to believe that an adult's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be further adversely affected by abuse, neglect, or exploitation SHALL REPORT IN ACCORDANCE WITH R.S. 15:1505....any person who in good faith makes a report, cooperates in an investigation by an adult protective agency, or participates in judicial proceedings authorized under the provisions of this Chapter...shall have immunity from civil or criminal liability…

5 WHAT IS EXPLOITATION OF THE ELDERLY? LA R.S. 15:1503: (EPS/APS Statute Definitions) (7) "Exploitation" means the illegal or improper use or management of an aged person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property, … power of attorney or guardianship for one's own profit or advantage. LA R.S. 14:93.4. Exploitation of the infirmed (Criminal Law) (1) The intentional expenditure, diminution, or use…of the property or assets of the infirmed, a disabled adult, or an aged person…without the express voluntary consent…by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations. (2) The use of an infirmed…aged person's, or disabled adult's power of attorney or guardianship for one's own profit or advantage by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations.

6 PENALTIES FOR EXPLOITATION OF THE INFIRMED LA R.S. 14:93.4 A FELONY  shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 10 years, or both  shall be prohibited from access to any disabled or aged person's assets or property…  Shall be prohibited from having a power of attorney or being guardian for any disabled or aged person…  shall not prohibit the offender from inheriting from the victim

7 LA R.S. 14:67.21 THEFT OF THE ASSETS OF AN AGED OR DISABLED PERSON “Aged person" is any person 60 years or older (EPS Jurisdiction) "Disabled person" is a person 18 years or older who has a mental, physical, or developmental disability …. (APS Jurisdiction) The intentional use… management or appropriation of funds, assets or property...misuse of a power of attorney...or through fraudulent scheme…

8 PENALTIES FOR THEFT OF ASSETS OF ELDERLY LA R.S. 14:67.21  Value of $300 or less, MAY be imprisoned up to 6 months in prison and up to $500 (Misdemeanor)  Value of $300+ to $500, MAY be imprisoned up to 2 years in prison, with or without hard labor and up to $2000 fine (Felony)  Value of $500+, MAY be imprisoned up to 3 years in prison, with or without hard labor and up to $3000 fine (Felony)  2 nd conviction, SHALL be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, up to 2 years and up to two thousand dollars (Felony)  Offender shall make full restitution to the victim

9 OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: RECOVERY OF FUNDS AND RESTITUTION ISSUES TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE ! ‘’When they’re gone, they’re gone!! ’’ Criminal Prosecution and Convictions are the best means of having restitution made to the victim and with no legal fees or costs Civil Recovery and Judgments (‘’Its a Civil Matter ’’) a method of recovery and restitution available but statutes of limitation often bar suit and there are no exceptions or extensions for the elderly and infirm Perhaps it is time to review an exception or extension of time limits for this class of persons in the civil law!

10 Statue of Limitations for Criminal Prosecution Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 572 MISDEMEANOR: – Theft of Assets of Aged/Disabled valued < $300.00 2 years from commission of offense FELONY: – Theft of Assets of Aged/Disabled valued > $300 – Exploitation of the Infirmed 4 years from commission of offense

11 STATUTE ADDED 2010 LA CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ARTICLE 573.1 RUNNING OF TIME LIMITATIONS; EXCEPTION; EXPLOITATION OF THE INFIRMED The time limitations established by Article 572 shall not commence to run as to the crime of exploitation of the infirmed (R.S. 14:93.4) until the crime is discovered by a competent victim, or in the case of an incompetent victim, by a competent third person. Acts 2010, No. 317, §1.

12 Why Was The Statute Added ? (1)La. R.S. 14:93.4 is designed to protect persons who are most often unable to know that they are being exploited or fear loss of independence or institutional care if they report the exploitation. (2) The relationship of many perpetrators to the victim is such that trust is misplaced or the perpetrator is able to isolate the victim and financial resources from access by others. (3) Exploitation is often discovered long after the 4 year prosecution period has passed such as during an examination of records for a “long term care Medicaid” application’s “look back period of 5 years”; or when a victim has died and succession proceedings provide access to financial records.

13 IMMUNITY, CONFIDENTIALITY and CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE TO REPORT No cause of action shall exist against any person or agency who in good faith provides a record or document to the adult protection agency The identity of any person who in good faith makes a report of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or extortion shall be confidential and shall not be released without the handwritten authorization of the person making the report. a person who knowingly fails to report abuse may be liable for fines and/or imprisonment.

14 FEDERAL FINANCIAL PRIVACY LAW Financial Exploitation Reports are Exempt The Federal Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 does not apply to reports made to state or local authorities. 31 U.S.C. sec. 5318 (g) (3) A: Any financial institution that...makes a disclosure pursuant to this subsection or any other authority...shall not be liable to any person under any law or regulation of the United States, any constitution, law, or regulation of any State or political subdivision of any State…

15 Nothing in this title shall preclude any financial institution...,from notifying a Government authority that such institution...has information which may be relevant to a possible violation of any statute or regulation. Any financial institution, or officer, employee, or agent thereof…shall not be liable to the customer under any law or regulation of the United States or any constitution, law or regulation of any State or political subdivision thereof, for such disclosure of or any failure to notify the customer of such disclosure. THE RIGHT TO FINANCIAL PRIVACY ACT 12 U.S.C. 3403 (c) (Federal)

16 Exempts from its privacy protection and notification to customers requirements: Disclosure “to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud, unauthorized transactions, claims, or other liability.” Disclosure “to the extent specifically permitted or required under other provisions of law…to law enforcement agencies…or for an investigation on a matter related to public safety.” Disclosure “to comply with Federal, State, or local laws, rules, and other applicable legal requirements.” THE FINANCIAL SERVICES MODERNIZATION ACT (GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY ACT)

17 United States Department of The Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Advisory FIN-2011-A003/ Issued: February 22, 2011 Subject: Advisory to Financial Institutions on Filing Suspicious Activity Reports Regarding Elder Financial Exploitation Key Areas Addressed by the Advisory Opinion Financial institutions can play a key role This advisory contains examples of "red flags“ Older Americans hold a high concentration of wealth SARs continue to be a valuable avenue to report elder financial exploitation. Filers should continue to report all forms of elder abuse according to institutional policies and the requirements of state and local laws and regulations,

18 Louisiana Bank Disclosure Law Linked to the Federal Law The Louisiana Banking Law, La. R.S. 6:333, provides: F. The following disclosures by a bank or any affiliate are hereby specifically authorized and,…nothing in this Section shall prohibit, restrict, or otherwise apply to: (11) The disclosure by a bank …of financial records …in accordance with the provisions of 12 U.S.C. 3401 et seq. or 15 U.S.C. 6801 et seq. (12) The disclosure by a bank… of financial records …in accordance with the provisions of Title 31 U.S.C.

19 HOW CAN BANKERS AND FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS HELP ? Train and sensitize employees about financial exploitation so that they recognize and report it Designate a staff person whom employees must notify when questionable or illegal financial transactions are occurring Develop a protocol for reporting suspected financial exploitation to law enforcement or Adult Protective Services Train customer service specialists in interview techniques of elder customers Educate customers about how to recognize the signs of exploitation

20 SIGNS OF FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION A relative or caregiver with no means of support who is suddenly interested in the elder's finances The elderly person's bills are not being paid A relative or caregiver who isolates the elder The elder is unaware of or unable to explain their finances Bank and credit card statements are sent to the relative or caregiver The elder is concerned about missing money Suspicious signatures on checks A legal document, such as a will or power of attorney, is drafted without fully understanding by the elder

21 METHODS OF FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION Taking or giving money or assets without permission or by force or intimidation Borrowing money and not paying it back Misusing ATM or credit cards Joint Bank Accounts where the offender's name is added to the an account Misusing the power of attorney or forcing the victim to agree to unintended purposes Living Trusts and Wills: becoming the manager, trustee or beneficiary

22 For Further Assistance Contact Information: Donald D. Akers, Jr. Assistant District Attorney, Elderly Protective Services 16th Judicial District of Louisiana 300 Iberia Street, Courthouse Suite 200 New Iberia, LA 70560-4583 Phone: 337-369-4420 Direct Ph: 337-365-3886 Direct Fax: 337-365-3886 Additional Ph: 337-367-8451 Alternate Fax: 337-365-7034 email:

23 FIN-2011-A003 Indicators of Elder Financial Exploitation Erratic or unusual banking transactions, or changes in banking patterns: – Frequent large withdrawals, including daily maximum currency withdrawals from an ATM; – Sudden Non-Sufficient Fund activity; – Uncharacteristic nonpayment for services, which may indicate a loss of funds or access to funds; – Debit transactions that are inconsistent for the elder; – Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money; – Closing of CDs or accounts without regard to penalties

24 Interactions with customers or caregivers: A caregiver or individual shows excessive interest does not allow the elder to speak or is reluctant to leave the elder’s side during conversations; The elder shows an unusual degree of fear or submissiveness toward a caregiver, or expresses a fear of eviction or nursing home placement if money is not given to a caretaker; The financial institution is unable to speak directly with the elder, despite repeated attempts to contact him or her; A new caretaker, relative, or friend suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of the elder without proper documentation; The customer moves away from existing relationships and toward new associations with other “friends” or strangers; The elderly individual’s financial management changes suddenly, such as through a change of power of attorney to a different family member or a new individual; The elderly customer lacks knowledge about his or her financial status, or shows a sudden reluctance to discuss financial matters.

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