Attorney General Moody Announces Passage of Historic Senior Protection Legislation
Apr 26, 2021
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “It’s no secret that Florida is a great place to retire. With more than five million seniors calling Florida home, it is our duty to ensure we provide a safe environment for older citizens to enjoy their golden years free from fraud and exploitation. Unfortunately, scammers recognize our booming senior population and often seek to turn their dream retirement into a financial nightmare.
“Our seniors deserve peace of mind and the ability to enjoy their retirement, free of worry from deceitful scammers looking to exploit their trust. I’m proud to work with Senator Danny Burgess and Representative Colleen Burton to strengthen our state laws and the authority of my Statewide Prosecutors to help ensure criminals targeting Florida’s older population are brought to justice.”
Senator Danny Burgess said, “I’m proud to work alongside Attorney General Moody and Representative Colleen Burton in sponsoring this great piece of legislation that ensures the protection and safety of Florida’s most vulnerable population. I will continue to prioritize Florida’s seniors and work to prevent those who seek to exploit and harm them.”
Representative Colleen Burton said, “With the passage of HB 1041, Protection of Elderly Persons and Disabled Adults, we have taken a crucial step in eliminating exploitation and abuse of elderly and disabled individuals in the State of Florida. We see a growing problem and have taken action to put a stop to individuals taking advantage of our most vulnerable adults for financial gain. Thank you Attorney General Ashley Moody and Senator Danny Burgess for working alongside me on this legislation. I look forward to seeing this bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and put into action.”
Florida is home to more than five million seniors. Unfortunately, seniors are often the targets of criminals seeking to deceptively earn positions of trust, only to exploit that trust to unlawfully gain access to personal and financial information or neglect physical and medical needs. HB 1041 will work to prevent and bring to justice criminals attempting to exploit Florida seniors by expanding the jurisdiction of Attorney General Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution to include specified authority over crimes against elderly persons and disabled adults.
The legislation also offers additional means of proving abuse and exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult by criminalizing the intentional isolation of vulnerable adults from family members. With this senior protection enhancement, law enforcement and prosecutors will have the authority to intervene prior to irreversible physical harm or financial loss that the isolation is designed to facilitate or conceal. Additionally, the bill criminalizes previously uncharged conduct of an exploiter who changes the terms of the will or trust of a vulnerable adult in order to benefit the exploiter or a co-conspirator. Statutory changes sought in the bill forfeit inheritances under a will, through a trust, through joint tenancy or contractual arrangements for a person convicted of abuse, neglect, exploitation or aggravated manslaughter.
The bill also expands who may file an injunction for protection against exploitation of a vulnerable adult and extends the time of a temporary injunction to up to 45 days.
To read the legislation, click here.
Since taking office, Attorney General Moody remains committed to protecting Florida seniors. In addition to working with lawmakers to craft legislation that protects vulnerable populations, Attorney General Moody created Florida’s Senior Protection Team—an intra-agency group of experts working with law enforcement and outside organizations to fight fraud targeting older Floridians.
Attorney General Moody also serves as Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General’s Elder Justice Committee.
For more on the committee, click here.
To report instances of scams against senior citizens or non-emergency instances of senior exploitation, call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or click here to file a complaint online.
In the case of an emergency, please call 911.