The Illinois Senate has passed legislation sponsored by State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) to clamp down on the financial exploitation of senior citizens.
“Seniors and the disabled are among are most vulnerable and highest targeted crime victims,” said Curran. “This bill will provide tougher penalties for those who prey upon seniors and the disabled while also making it easier to identify those with a history of this criminal activity.”
Senate Bill 69 makes a number of changes to the criminal code to help prosecute individuals who exploit seniors. The legislation expands the venue for the offense of “financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability”, to make it easier to prosecute perpetrators who live in a different state or facility than the victim.
The bill also makes “theft by deception from a person with a disability” a Class 2 felony. In addition, it prohibits sealing the records of certain offenses where someone was convicted of a financial crime against the elderly, along with eliminating the “consent” defense if the defendant knew the elderly or disabled person lacked the capacity to consent.
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), one in nine seniors has reported being exploited, abused, or neglected within the last year. The organization says that exploitation has become so common that it is often referred to as “the crime of the twenty-first century.”
The legislation, which was an initiative of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office, passed the Senate on March 27 and is now headed to the Illinois House.