Congress Examines the Crime of the 21st Century

Elder exploitationThe U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation to step up enforcement against perpetrators of crimes targeting senior citizens.

The Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection Act of 2017 was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The bill passed by a voice vote. “This legislation will enhance our response to the cowardly criminals who try to exploit America’s seniors. Families across America, including in my home state of Iowa, have been victimized by such crimes, and as the population ages, we can expect more and more victims if we don’t act. The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act takes meaningful steps to equip law enforcement, seniors and caregivers with additional tools so they can deter these crimes and hold perpetrators accountable,” Grassley said.

“Our bipartisan legislation will help prevent the utterly unconscionable scourge of elder abuse and hold its shameful perpetrators accountable. Far too many seniors in our country are abused or exploited by the very people who are supposed to care for them. This issue hit home in Connecticut with the tragic case of Purple Heart recipient Robert Matava. A national hero, he deserved the best care during his golden years. Instead, he was defrauded and left penniless by those he trusted most. Abuse of our country’s elders is too often overlooked, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their financial security and physical safety,” Blumenthal said.

Research shows that financial exploitation may be the most widespread form of elder abuse. It costs seniors in the U.S. over $36 billion annually. The legislation will expand data collection and information sharing to help prevent and respond to all forms of elder abuse and exploitation, including financial crimes against the elderly.

The bipartisan Elder Justice Coalition called the bill “one of the most comprehensive and meaningful bills ever developed to address the rapidly increasing problem of elder financial abuse in America.” It also has the backing of Consumers Union, SIFMA, the 60 Plus Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Center for Victims of Crime and many others.

Grassley chaired a Judiciary Committee hearing in 2016 to look at the best way to protect older Americans from financial abuse. The Senator also launched several inquiries to combat crimes against seniors and worked to raise greater awareness for these issues.

Reference: kiow.com (August 4, 2017) “Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill Curbing Crimes Against Seniors”


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