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Bill Introduced to Address Elder Fraud

Senator Wilson press conference

On May 30, 2017, Senator Steve Wilson held a press conference to introduce a bill (Senate Bill 158) intended to protect seniors from financial fraud. OCAPS, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors Association, the Attorney General's Office, and others were part of interested party meetings to help inform the Senator about issues and concerns.

The bill includes four main components:

1) adds financial planners, banks, credit unions, accountants, realtors and others to the list of mandatory reporters that are required to report when they have reasonable cause to believe that an adult is being abused, neglected or exploited, or is in a condition which is the result of abuse, neglect or exploitation. The bill does not change the definition of exploitation in the adult protective services law.

2) requires the Attorney General to publish six public service announcements per year on elder fraud and exploitation.

3) requires state agencies and banking associations to work together to develop best practices and standards for preventing elder fraud and financial exploitation and provide education; requires the director of ODJFS to work with the county departments of job and family services and county prosecutors to ensure that services and resources are available to victims of elder fraud and exploitation; and requires a report to be provided to the General Assembly.

4) adds a fine of up to $50,000 in situations of fraud in which the victim is an elderly person, and directs the clerk of courts to forward all fines collected to the county department of job and family services for reporting and investigation of elder abuse and exploitation by adult protective services.

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