Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman Dianne Gove have re-introduced legislation (S-1207/A-750) drafted by the legislative delegation to create a new offense, under State law, of theft by financial exploitation of a vulnerable person.
Connors, Rumpf, & Gove re-introduced legislation which would create a new offense of theft by financial exploitation of a vulnerable person. (©iStock)
Under the Delegation’s legislative initiative, an actor would commit this offense when, being in a position of trust in relation to a senior citizen or a person with a disability, commits a theft offense against that person.
In terms of proposed penalties, the legislation provides that theft by financial exploitation of a vulnerable person would be graded as a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense is a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense. Otherwise, it would be a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying theft offense.
The 9th District legislative delegation issued the following statement:
“Protecting our society’s most vulnerable citizens remains a core responsibility of government and law enforcement. To more effectively protect these individuals, we propose to enhance existing penalties for those who would abuse their position of trust to financially exploit seniors or persons with a disability.
“A person in a position of trust is defined under our legislation to include, but not be limited to, a parent, spouse, adult child, or other relative by blood, or a joint tenant. It would also include someone who has a fiduciary obligation or receives monetary or other valuable consideration for providing care for a senior citizen or person with a disability as well as an individual who lives with or provides some component of home care services on a continuing basis.
“Through enhanced penalties, our Delegation hopes to deter crimes of financial exploitation and bring a higher level of justice to those victimized by someone who would betray the trust placed in them to care for a vulnerable person. This issue also takes on greater meaning for our Delegation as senior citizens comprise a large segment of our constituency.”
Upon re-introduction for the current 2022-2023 Legislative Session, S-1207 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee while A-750 was referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
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