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Financial Elder Abuse Laws in San Francisco

Financial elder abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. In its broadest sense, it refers to wrongful acts committed against the elderly that result in financial harm. The elderly are particularly vulnerable targets for theft, fraud, and misappropriation, as they may suffer diminished mental capacity and have difficulty staying on top of their finances. Financial elder abuse in San Francisco is covered under both civil and criminal laws. If you are aware of financial elder abuse being perpetrated against someone you care about, a California financial elder abuse attorney can help you protect their interests.

Civil Laws

The primary civil law covering financial elder abuse in San Francisco is the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. Under this law, a person commits financial elder abuse when he or she “takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the real or personal property of an elder…for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both” or when he or she accomplishes the same through undue influence. Anyone assisting the perpetrator in any of these actions is also guilty of financial else abuse. The Act authorizes a private right of action for the victims of elder abuse. It also provides for awards of attorney fees and costs in addition to compensatory damages.

Other civil laws that encompass financial elder abuse include:

  •   Business & Professions Code §§ 17200 and 17500: Cover unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business acts and false or misleading advertising; allow for restitution and issuance of injunctions
  • Civil Code § 3345: Applies to unfair or deceptive acts or practices and unfair methods of competition; allows for treble (i.e., triple the amount of) damages to be awarded when the successful plaintiff is a senior citizen

You should speak to a California financial elder abuse lawyer to determine whether the circumstances of your case implicate one or more of the above laws. 

Criminal Laws

Criminal laws prohibiting financial crimes — theft, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, and identity theft — apply to elders in San Francisco on the same basis as other residents. Elders are also covered under § 368 of the California Penal Code, which applies specifically to financial elder abuse and other forms of elder abuse. The penalties for individuals convicted under § 368 depend upon the value of the property taken. If the value of the property is $950 or less, the perpetrator is charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of a $1,000 fine and up to one year in county jail. If the value of the property exceeds $950, the perpetrator may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor convictions carry penalties of a $2,500 fine and up to one year in county jail, while felonies carry penalties of $10,000 and up to four years in county jail.

Fight Back Against Exploitation of Elders With Help From a San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorney

The victims of financial elder abuse and their representatives have several legal options for holding the perpetrators of financial elder abuse accountable. To discuss your options further, please speak to a San Francisco financial elder abuse lawyer at the Evans Law Firm, Inc., by using our online contact form or calling 415-441-8669 or toll-free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

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