STATEHOUSE (Feb. 26, 2020) – The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted in support of a bill sponsored by State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) that would help protect vulnerable Hoosiers from financial exploitation.
McNamara said exploitation is the fastest growing and most common type of elder abuse, and exploitation of minors is also a concern. Examples include foster children who have their Supplemental Security Income erroneously used by their parents, or senior citizens suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s being preyed upon.
“Exploitation of dependent adults and children are some of the most underreported crimes, and we need more tools to help combat abuse of power,” McNamara said. “We want to protect the most vulnerable members of our community by making it easier for them to seek legal action against those who have taken advantage of them.”
According to McNamara, it is considered theft for a guardian or person with power of attorney to use their authority to exploit money from a dependent. She said unfortunately, many cases of exploitation are not pursued because the amount taken is less than $10,000, which is the current minimum needed for prosecution. This legislation would remove the minimum and include minors as a protected group.
“I know firsthand the impact that a disease like Alzheimer’s can have on families,” McNamara said. “I want to know that our elderly, who may not be able to make financial decisions for themselves, have an opportunity to receive justice when a person in a position of trust takes financial advantage of them.”
The Alzheimer's Association and the Indiana Statewide Independent Living Council testified in support of the proposal.
Senate Enrolled Act 249 is now eligible to be signed into law by the governor. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.
State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76,
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.
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