Legislators discuss new law to protect vulnerable seniors - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Legislators discuss new law to protect vulnerable seniors

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

New protections may be on the way for seniors. Lawmakers are working on ways to protect them from people who prey on them for money and property. Currently, there is a discussion underway to create a new law that would specifically address this type of crime, making it a felony.

THe law would protect the elderly and other incapacitated adults caught in situations like paving scams, where the victim gives money for a job not done, or not done well enough. In some cases, it would apply to caregivers coercively taking financial advantage of a family member or someone else in their care. For example, a parent with dementia.

"They're taking advantage of these people," said Senator Richard Stuart, (R) 28th District who is leading the Senate Bill. "Sometimes it's elderly people. Sometimes it's just people with a diminished capacity.  And this bill would address that situation specifically."

It's not a new topic at the Capitol. While many lawmakers agree that this is a vulnerable group, similar bills have died in years past. That's because writing language specific enough only to cast a net for predators has been difficult.

The present bills would make it a felony crime to coercively take money or property from a senior or incapacitated adult. 

 "If you're manipulating them with the intent to take their money and milk them out of this money, you're going to get caught in this bill,' said Stuart.

Delegate Manoli Loupassi has also been pushing this legislation for years, and says prosecutors really need a way to help victims who aren't always able to help themselves

"What we're trying to do is add another tool to the tool box that will aid prosecutors in prosecuting these kinds of cases," said Loupassi.

SB 706 Elderly or incapacitated adults; financial exploitation, penalties.

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