Senate approves bill to prevent elder financial exploitation


STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne to require financial institutions to report suspected financial exploitation of seniors to the Office of Healthy Aging, and authorizing them to temporarily hold transactions they suspect as such.

“Financial exploitation is a serious and growing problem for the elderly,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence). “Many elderly people rely on caregivers to handle their financial matters, and unfortunately, some people abuse that trust. Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions can be very helpful in preventing that abuse, because they are often able to identify suspicious activity in accounts. We should make sure we are taking full advantage of their tools, and making them our partner in protecting senior citizens from this type of abuse.”

The legislation (2021-S 0264A) would require financial institutions to train employees to recognize indicators of elderly financial exploitation, and on their obligation to properly report it and place a hold on suspicious transactions.

The legislation was the result of recommendations made by the Special Task Force to Study Elderly Abuse and Financial Exploitation, a group led by Senator Coyne that met in 2018 and 2019 to explore the facets of elder abuse and make policy recommendations to address them.

Cosponsors of the bill include Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown), Sen. John P. Burke (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).

It now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. is sponsoring its companion (2021-H 5642).


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