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Proposed Financial Elder Abuse Legislation – Part 1

There was a movie released a couple of years ago with Rosamund Pike called “I Care A Lot”.  The main character finds elderly people without close family who are living alone.  With the assistance of a doctor who examines and certifies that the senior is  incompetent and in need of assistance, she petitions the court to obtain guardianship over the person and property.  Once appointed, she moves the senior to a nursing home or assisted living facility and steals their money.

While the plot of the movie was not based on a specific case, this type of fraud happens more than people realize and it will continue to happen as the population ages.  A couple of similar abuses in New Jersey caught the attention of New Jersey legislators.

In those cases a man working with a nursing home convinced 2 seniors to appoint him as their agent under power of attorney.  The allegations are that he then cleaned out their homes and bank accounts.  The seniors were placed in the nursing home as long term care residents and were billed higher than normal rates for their care, with the agent under the power of attorney and the nursing home receiving these funds.

The cases received some media attention.  This prompted two New Jersey senators to introduce a bill which, if it becomes law, is designed to prevent such abusive behavior.  Next week I’ll tell you more.