Legislation From Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa)
Clarifies Bank Duties To Elders
The California Senate has approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would strengthen elder and dependent adult financial abuse protections by clarifying the duties of banks and financial institutions to safeguard against fraud. “Banks must do a better job of protecting the most vulnerable Californians,” Sen. Dodd said. “That’s why I wrote this bill, which clarifies that if these institutions assist in financial elder abuse, either knowingly or otherwise, they can be held responsible. It will motivate them to detect predatory practices before victims are robbed of their resources, dignity and quality of life – losses from which they may never recover.”
The attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. fight for the rights of individuals, especially the elderly, against unfair or illegal treatment and exploitation by others. Based on our experience we know firsthand that all seniors, male or female, rich or poor, single or married, straight or LGBTQIA+, are potential victims of all forms of elder abuse and neglect, including financial elder abuse. As advocates for seniors, we closely watch developments in the law and legislation that will expand protections for the elderly from abusers. If you suspect elder abuse of any kind, including financial elder abuse, call the elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267).
Senate Bill 278
Sen. Dodd’s legislation, Senate Bill 278, would clarify that victims of financial elder abuse can continue to hold institutions accountable when they should have known of fraud against an elderly consumer but negligently assisted in a fraudulent transfer anyway. The clarification would support victims of financial elder abuse in meeting their burden of proof.
SB 278 is supported by elder rights advocates and Consumer Attorneys of California. It passed the Senate in mid-June with bipartisan support.
“Older Californians are the fastest growing segment of our population and face a particularly high risk of financial fraud and abuse,” said Caleb Logan of Elder Law & Advocacy and bill co-sponsor California Low-Income Consumer Coalition. “Fortunately, banks can prevent seniors from losing their life savings to a scam. SB 278 will clarify existing law to revitalize important safeguards against financial abuse. We are proud to support this important bill and applaud Sen. Dodd’s efforts on behalf of seniors throughout California.”
Financial institution employees have a responsibility to spot and do something about suspected financial elder abuse but they are not mandated reporters of abuse. Mandated reporters under the law include:
(a) Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not he or she receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency, is a mandated reporter.
(b) (1) Any mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior, including an act or omission, constituting physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects that abuse, shall report the known or suspected instance of abuse by telephone or through a confidential Internet reporting tool, as authorized by Section 15658, immediately or as soon as practicably possible. If reported by telephone, a written report shall be sent, or an Internet report shall be made through the confidential Internet reporting tool established in Section 15658, within two working days.
Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15630(a) and (b)(1).
Mandated reporters are immune from liability once they report their suspicions and discharge their statutory duty. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15634.
Ingrid M. Evans represents seniors throughout California against any individuals or business who abuse them or financially exploit them. If you need help, call Ingrid and our other attorneys today at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.