Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin's legislation extending the statute of limitations for elder exploitation from three years to ten years is scheduled to be heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Tuesday, March 25, 2014.
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Paul V. Jabour (D- District 5, Providence), recognizes the complexities of financial crimes and the challenges of protecting with a population that may have physical and mental limitations by extending the statute of limitations of elder exploitation allowing law enforcement the necessary time to build a proper case for charging and subsequent prosecution, bringing it in line with other financial crimes.
The House companion bill – HH7331, sponsored by Representative Elaine A. Coderre (D-District 60, Pawtucket) – is scheduled on the House calendar for today.
According to the National Council on Aging, elder financial abuse is regarded as the third most commonly substantiated type of elder abuse. Also underreported, it is estimated the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse exceeded $2.6 billion annually nationwide.
"Many elders rely on others they think they can trust to handle their financial affairs, only to be robbed of their hard earned money. In some cases, the perpetrator leaves the victim penniless. Financial exploitation of elders is one of the most challenging to investigate charge and prosecute. By the time law enforcement becomes aware of the situation and investigates the matter, the statute of limitations has often expired. We need to treat financial exploitation of elders like to do all other financial crimes," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
"No one should get away with preying on the elderly. The statute of limitations needs to be more reasonable so these complicated cases can be prosecuted appropriately. Seniors, especially those who must rely on others for care, are unnecessarily made more vulnerable by this short statute of limitations. We can and should strengthen their protections," said Senator Jabour.