THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

531

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

Relating to Health.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is a growing form of abuse. Vulnerable adults are adults who, due to illness or incapacity, are unable to manage their own care or carry out essential daily activities without assistance. Vulnerable adults, including the elderly or disabled, rely on caregivers for basic daily tasks such as paying bills and managing finances. Financial exploitation of a vulnerable person occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of a vulnerable person for that person's own personal benefit. This frequently occurs without the explicit knowledge or consent of the vulnerable person and deprives the victim of vital financial resources. Assets are commonly taken through deception, false pretenses, coercion, harassment, duress, and threats, and exploiters are often trusted individuals like family members, caregivers, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, attorneys, bank employees, pastors, doctors, or nurses.

The legislature further finds that the rate of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is high, yet vastly under-reported. For example, one in twenty older adults indicate some form of perceived financial mistreatment occurring in the recent past, but only one in forty-four cases of elder financial abuse is reported.

The purpose of this Act is to provide additional protection to vulnerable adults by making the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult 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 a vulnerable adult; caregivers. (1) A caregiver commits the offense of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult if the caregiver intentionally or knowingly:

(a) Takes, withholds, misappropriates, or uses a vulnerable adult's money, real property, or personal property without authorization;

(b) Breaches a fiduciary duty to the vulnerable adult, such as misusing a power of attorney or guardianship privileges, resulting in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property;

(c) Takes the vulnerable adult's personal assets without authorization;

(d) Misappropriates or misuses any money belonging to the vulnerable adult from a personal or joint account;

(e) Fails to effectively use a vulnerable adult's income and assets for the necessities required for the vulnerable adult's support and maintenance, if the caregiver has a duty to expend income and assets on behalf of the vulnerable adult for such purposes; or

(f) Uses coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, or undue influence to take, appropriate, sell, transfer, or withhold a vulnerable adult's money, assets, real property, or personal property;

provided that the total value of the money, assets, or property taken or used exceeds $50,000.

(2) Financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult is a class A felony.

(3) For the purposes of this section:

"Caregiver" means any person who has knowingly and willingly assumed, on a part-time or full-time basis, the care, supervision, or physical control of, or who has a legal or contractual duty to care for the health, safety, and welfare of a vulnerable adult.

"Vulnerable adult" means a person eighteen years of age or older who, because of mental, developmental, or physical impairment, is unable to: communicate or make responsible decisions to manage the person's own care or resources; carry out or arrange for essential activities of daily living; or protect oneself from financial exploitation, as defined in section 346-222."

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, 2019.

 


 


 

Report Title:

Penal Code; Caregivers; Financial Exploitation; Elder Abuse; Vulnerable Adults

 

Description:

Makes financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver a Class A felony. (SD1)

 

 

 

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