HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

432

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017

H.D. 2

STATE OF HAWAII

S.D. 1

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE ELDERLY.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that financial exploitation is a fast growing form of elder abuse. Financial exploitation occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of an elderly victim for that person's own personal benefit. This frequently occurs without the explicit knowledge or consent of the elderly victim and deprives the elderly victim of vital financial resources. Assets are commonly taken via forms of deception, false pretenses, coercion, harassment, duress, and threats.

According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, recent research indicates that elder financial exploitation is widespread and sometimes even deadly. The rate of financial exploitation is high with one in twenty elderly persons indicating some form of perceived financial mistreatment occurring in the recent past. Elder abuse is vastly under-reported with only one in forty-four cases of financial abuse being reported.

Ninety per cent of abusers are family members or trusted individuals, such as caregivers, neighbors, friends and acquaintances, attorneys, bank employees, pastors, and doctors or nurses. Common ways that family members or trusted individuals exploit elderly victims to gain control over the elderly victim's assets include misusing a power of attorney, use of joint bank accounts in a manner not authorized by the elderly victim, misusing ATM cards or stealing checks to withdraw money, threatening to harm the elderly victim, refusing to obtain care and medical services needed by the elderly victim, and overcharging for in-home care provider services.

In Hawaii, state laws and various services protect vulnerable adults, including the elderly. First, the adult protective services program is a mandated service of the adult protective and community services branch of the department of human services, which provides crisis intervention, without regard to income, including investigation and emergency services for vulnerable adults who are reported to be abused, neglected, or financially exploited by others or seriously endangered due to self-neglect. Second, the attorney general is authorized by law to bring a civil action on behalf of the State against any caregiver who commits abuse, including financial and economic exploitation, of a dependent elder. Third, financial institutions are required by law to report suspected financial abuse that is directed toward, targeted at, or committed against an elder to the department of human services and the appropriate county police department if certain conditions exist. Lastly, state law provides enhanced penalties for certain crimes that are committed against an elderly person or the property of an elderly person.

The purpose of this Act is to provide an additional mechanism to protect the elderly against financial exploitation by making the financial exploitation of an elder by a caregiver a class A felony.

SECTION 2. Chapter 708, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part IV to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"708-   Financial exploitation of an elder; caregivers. (1) A caregiver commits the offense of financial exploitation of an elder if the caregiver intentionally or knowingly financially exploits the elder; provided that the total value of the money or property taken or used shall be more than $50,000.

(2) Financial exploitation of an elder is a class A felony.

(3) For the purposes of this section:

"Caregiver" means any person who has undertaken the temporary or permanent care, custody, or physical control or supervision of, or who has a legal or contractual duty to care for the health, safety, and welfare of, an elder.

"Elder" means a person who is sixty years of age or older.

"Financial exploitation" means the unauthorized taking, withholding, misappropriation, or use of an elder's money, real property, or personal property. "Financial exploitation" may include but is not limited to:

(a) Breaches of fiduciary relationships, such as the misuse of a power of attorney or the abuse of guardianship privileges, resulting in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property;

(b) The unauthorized taking of personal assets; or

(c) The misappropriation, misuse, or unauthorized transfer of moneys belonging to the elder from a personal or joint account.

"Financial exploitation" may be committed by using coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, or undue influence."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2075.

 


 


 

Report Title:

Kupuna Caucus; Elderly; Caregivers; Financial Exploitation; Elder Abuse; Penal Code

 

Description:

Makes financial exploitation of an elder by a caregiver a class A felony. Defines "caregiver", "elder", and "financial exploitation". Effective 7/1/2075. (SD1)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.