U.S. DOJ Prosecuting Elder Law Scammers
Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Scams targeting senior citizens take many forms, and unfortunately they are on the rise. Several states have taken steps to curtail these schemes, and now U.S. Attorney General William Barr is increasing efforts at the federal level.
Earlier in March, AG Barr held a press conference discussing the federal government's recent enforcement actions. This effort involves cases around the country, including here in North Carolina. Showing that no one is immune, it was noted that even William Webster, a former federal judge and director of both the FBI and CIA, was the target of one attempted scam based out of Jamaica.
The press release from the DOJ explained that "since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors." Among other things, the EAPPA increases penalties for crimes that target the elderly and requires federal agencies, including the DOJ, to place a greater emphasis on stopping elder abuse. It also requires the DOJ to develop model legislation that states can use to better protect the rights of elderly individuals from exploitation as a result of guardianships and powers of attorney.
Individuals who suspect that they or a loved one have been the victim of elder fraud can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Individuals should also consider contacting competent legal counsel to explore what other steps may be taken to protect their rights.