During this trying time for seniors, COVID-19 is not exactly the only thing our older demographic has to worry about. Scammers infamously target senior populations over various avenues, like technology. Nevertheless, Attorney General Ashley Moody (R-FL) hopes to keep Florida a retirement-friendly place by establishing more protections for seniors.
As the Attorney General, Moody has teamed up with State Rep. Colleen Burton (R-FL), and State Sen. Danny Burgess (R-FL) to get the ball rolling on HB 1041 and SB 1344, which will work simultaneously in order to expand AG Moody's jurisdiction to prosecute specified crimes against the elderly and disabled adults.
The legislation also alters current law and adds different ways of proving the exploitation and or abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult by criminalizing the intentional isolation of the victim from family members.
As a result of the changes enacted by the bills, law enforcement and prosecutors would be granted more power to intervene prior to potential damages, physical or financial, that may take place.
If the bills are passed, the new statutes will criminalize those who change the terms of the will of a vulnerable adult in order to benefit the exploiter.
In response to the bills and their momentum, AG Moody released this statement in her most recent news release:
"Scammers often target older Floridians thinking their crimes will go unnoticed or unreported. The abuse of a position of trust that causes significant financial or physical harm to a senior is not just a civil matter, it can be criminal and should be prosecuted. As Attorney General, I am dedicated to protecting our great seniors and ensuring that criminals who target them are brought to justice. To better accomplish this important goal, we must strengthen our laws to ensure none of these criminals evade responsibility for their devious actions."
Legislation as the aforementioned is needed in a time like this, and a state like this, where the senior population is roughly 5 million, and the avenues of scamming vulnerable populations is just now being pioneered.