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Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has proved to be first Attorney General  to show concern for AAmerica's senior citizens. His office has announced the largest ever coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in the Department of Justice’s history representing a total loss of more than half of a billion dollars. “Today’s actions send a clear message:  we will hold perpetrators of elder fraud schemes accountable wherever they are.  When criminals steal the hard-earned life savings of older Americans, we will respond with all the tools at the Department’s disposal – criminal prosecutions to punish offenders, civil injunctions to shut the schemes down, and asset forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains.  Today is only the beginning.  I have directed Department prosecutors to coordinate with both domestic law enforcement partners and foreign counterparts to stop these criminals from exploiting our seniors.”


In March, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging conducted the third hearing of this Congress, the 12th in the past three years, to examine scams affecting older Americans and released its 2018 Fraud Book detailing the Top 10 scams reported to its Fraud Hotline last year.

The most prevalent scam reported to the Committee’s Hotline was the IRS Impersonation Scam in which con artists call, pretending to be IRS representatives, to collect payment of taxes and threaten arrest if payment is not immediately made by phone. This is one to watch out for, especially around tax time. 

 “This Committee’s dedication to fighting fraud against older Americans is raising awareness and it is making a real difference,” said Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME), of the Senate Aging Committee. Calling the “stakes extremely high” she discussed the ongoing struggle to curb incidence of senior fraud. She said older American’s lose $2.9 billion every year to various forms of financial exploitation schemes and scams.

Ranking Member, Bob Casey (D-PA), called for more aggressive action to be taken “to ensure that not one more senior loses another penny to a con artist.” He suggested working more closely with businesses to create “another line of defense to help prevent assets from ever leaving the hands of unsuspecting victims.” 

Thank you Mr. Sessions

**Financial Crimes Against Seniors Seminar - National White Collar Crime Center

US Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative (EJI) in collaboration with National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), conducted a free one day seminar, Financial Crimes Against Seniors, to instruct law enforcement officers and front line responders in eight regions across the country, on investigation and prevention of financial exploitation of senior adults. 

They discussed improving knowledge of:

Working with senior victims

Criminal vs. Civil response

Developing an Investigation Plan

Document Analysis Using a Multi-Agency approach

Determining when a case is prosecution ready

Elder abuse awareness and prevention Resources for investigation, prevention and community awareness


The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017

ON October 18, 2017, President Trump signed into law The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017. It is intended to improve the justice system’s response to victims of elder abuse and exploitation as follows:

  1. The law supports federal cases involving elder justice

In each Federal judicial district, the Attorney General is required to designate not less than one Assistant United States Attorney to serve as the Elder Justice Coordinator for that district, who, in addition to any other responsibilities, is responsible for:

  • serving as the legal counsel for the judicial district on matters relating to elder abuse;
  • prosecute, or assisting in the prosecution of, elder abuse cases;
  • conduct public outreach and awareness activities relating to elder abuse
  • ensure that the collection of all  required data is complete   


2. It provides investigative support:

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of the FBI, must, with respect to crimes relating to elder abuse, ensure the implementation of a regular and comprehensive training program to train agents in the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse crimes and the enforcement of laws related to elder abuse, which must include:

  • specialized strategies for communicating with and assisting elder abuse victims
  • conduct relevant forensic training relating to elder abuse

3. The law also provides a resource group.

In addition, the Attorney General, through the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, shall ensure the operation of a resource group. Resource groups are responsible for the sharing of knowledge, experience, sample pleadings and other case documents and  training materials, along with any other resources that can assist prosecutors throughout the United States in pursuing cases relating to elder abuse.

4. The law also provides effective interagency coordination and federal data collection

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, must annually

  • collect from Federal law enforcement agencies, Federal prosecutors' offices, and any other appropriate agency, statistical data related to elder abuse cases. This includes cases, or investigations, where one or more victim was elder, or case or investigations that involved a financial scheme, or scam, that was targeted directly at, or largely affected, elder citizens.
  • publish on the website of the Department of Justice, in a publicly accessible manner, a summary of the data collected, and recommendations for collecting additional data, relating to elder abuse, including recommendations for ways to improve data reporting across Federal, State, and local agencies

                5.  Reporting Requirement

Not later than 1 year from date the collection of statistical data began, and once each year thereafter, the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime must submit a report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, explaining all available compiled data on the nature, extent, and amount of funding for victims of crime who are elders.


On January 22,The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2255 legislation, which includes The Senior Safe Act

The Senior Safe Act (formerly H.R. 3758), had been a standalone bill.

H.R. 3758 is companion legislation to S. 223, which was passed by the Senate Banking Committee and encourages financial services firms to provide appropriate training to front-line employees and producers, while granting immunity to those that report suspected abuse to regulators and law enforcement authorities. 

On March 14, the Senate passed the The Senior Safe Act as part of its larger financial services reform package on

Under the Senior Safe Act of 2018,

  1. An officer, employee, registered representative, insurance producer, or an investment adviser with a financial institution who comes into contact with a Senior citizen as a regular part of his or her professional duties or who reviews or approves the financial documents, records or transactions of a senior citizen in connection with providing financial services to a senior citizen and who suspects the exploitation of the senior citizen is required, by this law, to report such suspicion to a covered agency.
  2. The individual who reports such exploitation of the senior citizen to a covered agency is not liable for any civil or administrative proceeding for such if he or she served as a supervisor or compliance officer or a bank secrecy officer and made the disclosure in good faith and with reasonable care.


A covered agency is defined as follows:

  • a State financial regulatory agency, including a State securities or law enforcement authority and a State insurance regulator;
  • each of the entities represented in the membership of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council established under section 1004 of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act of 1978;
  • the Securities and Exchange Commission;
  • a securities association registered under section 15A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
  • a law enforcement agency; and
  • a State or local agency responsible for administering adult protective service laws

Dirk Kempthorne, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, said that the Senior Safe Act “facilitates improved communication between insurance producers, life insurance companies and regulators in the event of suspected financial exploitation of senior citizens…..By encouraging the reporting of suspected fraud, the Senior Safe Act improves the ability of companies to work with regulators to protect seniors from losing their retirement savings,””

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) has also been working with lawmakers in support of the bill.  “The Senior Safe Act provides much needed protection for older investors and will allow advisors to better protect their clients’ interests,” President Keith Gillies said. “NAIFA worked hard with lawmakers to craft legislation that encourages advisors to protect their senior clients and give them mechanisms for doing so while shielding advisors who act in good faith and with reasonable care from liability.”

There is n o question that this will be a valuable tool in the prevention of elder financial abuse.


The National Center on Law & Elder Rights has released an issue brief, Drafting Advance Planning Documents to Reduce the Risk of Abuse or Exploitation.  The issue brief offers 4 key lessons:

1.  Extra care in the creation of advance care planning documents can reduce the risk of abuse and exploitation.
2. Requiring accountability, additional checks and balances, and limited authority are drafting tools lawyers can utilize to limit risk of abuse.
3. Attorneys should advise clients to be extra diligent when selecting the agent(s) named in advance planning documents.
4. Authorizing revocation by third parties can help to limit the damage done by named agents who start to abuse or exploit the client. 


In March, California congresswoman Karen Bass introduced a resolution that calls on Congress to not only pass legislation to prevent senior scams from happening, but to improve the protections of senior citizens from these scams. “Senior scams are becoming more sophisticated and more common,” Bass said.

House Resolution 765, supporting the designation f May 15, 2018 National Senior Fraud Awareness Day  was introduced with Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force Co-Chairs Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Il) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), in addition to Congressional Caucus on Elder Justice Co-Chairs Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Peter King (R-NY). It is intended to rase awareness of the massive number of frauds perpetrated against senior citizens, and to encourage policies for prevention and protection.

“With greater education, we can make older Americans, caregivers and families aware of scams and help them learn how to avoid them.” said Seniors Task Force Co-Chairs Reps. Schakowsky and Matsui.

“In addition to losing money, seniors also lose their dignity and confidence” added Rep. Bonamici said and Rep. King added “It is imperative that we continue to advocate for common sense protections for our nation’s seniors…I look forward to working with Rep. Bass and my House colleagues to make sure Congress implements legislation that prevents elder exploitation.”

“With greater education, we can make older Americans, caregivers and families aware of scams and help them learn how to avoid them.” said Senior Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Schakowsk