Elder Abuse and Elder Financial Exploitation Statutes

The federal government, states, commonwealths, territories and the District of Columbia all have laws designed to protect older adults from elder abuse and guide the practice of adult protective services agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others. These laws vary considerably from state to state.
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Citation Statute
Civil Financial Exploitation
Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.23 (2016)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE 

Division 9.  Public Social Services 

Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance 

Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act 

Article 2.  Definitions

§ 15610.23.  "Dependent adult"

(a) "Dependent adult" means any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years who resides in this state and who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities, or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age.

(b) "Dependent adult" includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250, 1250.2, and 1250.3 of the Health and Safety Code.

Civil Financial Exploitation
Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.27 (2016)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE 

Division 9.  Public Social Services 

Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance 

Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act 

Article 2.  Definitions

§ 15610.27.  "Elder"

"Elder" means any person residing in this state, 65 years of age or older.

Civil Financial Exploitation
Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.30 (2016)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE 

Division 9.  Public Social Services 

Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance 

Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act 

Article 2.  Definitions

§ 15610.30.  Financial abuse

(a) "Financial abuse" of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:

 (1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.

 (2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.

 (3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.

(b) A person or entity shall be deemed to have taken, secreted, appropriated, obtained, or retained property for a wrongful use if, among other things, the person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the property and the person or entity knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder or dependent adult.

(c) For purposes of this section, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property when an elder or dependent adult is deprived of any property right, including by means of an agreement, donative transfer, or testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder or dependent adult.

(d) For purposes of this section, "representative" means a person or entity that is either of the following:

 (1) A conservator, trustee, or other representative of the estate of an elder or dependent adult.

 (2) An attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of the power of attorney.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
Cal Pen Code § 368 (2016)

PENAL CODE 

Part 1.  Of Crimes and Punishments 

Title 9.  Of Crimes Against the Person Involving Sexual Assault, and Crimes Against Public Decency and Good Morals 

Chapter 13.  Crimes Against Elders, Dependent Adults, and Persons with Disabilities

§ 368.  Crimes against elders and dependent adults; Legislative findings; Infliction of pain, injury or endangerment; Theft, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, or identity theft; False imprisonment

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that crimes against elders and dependent adults are deserving of special consideration and protection, not unlike the special protections provided for minor children, because elders and dependent adults may be confused, on various medications, mentally or physically impaired, or incompetent, and therefore less able to protect themselves, to understand or report criminal conduct, or to testify in court proceedings on their own behalf.

 (1) Any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

 (2) If in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the victim suffers great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:

   (A) Three years if the victim is under 70 years of age.

   (B) Five years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.

 (3) If in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the defendant proximately causes the death of the victim, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:

   (A) Five years if the victim is under 70 years of age.

   (B) Seven years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.

(c) Any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this subdivision is punishable by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(d) Any person who is not a caretaker who violates any provision of law proscribing theft, embezzlement, forgery, or fraud, or who violates Section 530.5 proscribing identity theft, with respect to the property or personal identifying information of an elder or a dependent adult, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is an elder or a dependent adult, is punishable as follows:

 (1) By a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).

 (2) By a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value not exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).

(e) Any caretaker of an elder or a dependent adult who violates any provision of law proscribing theft, embezzlement, forgery, or fraud, or who violates Section 530.5 proscribing identity theft, with respect to the property or personal identifying information of that elder or dependent adult, is punishable as follows:

 (1) By a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).

 (2) By a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value not exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).

(f) Any person who commits the false imprisonment of an elder or a dependent adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.

(g) As used in this section, "elder" means any person who is 65 years of age or older.

(h) As used in this section, "dependent adult" means any person who is between the ages of 18 and 64, who has physical or mental limitations which restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age. "Dependent adult" includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250, 1250.2, and 1250.3 of the Health and Safety Code.

(i) As used in this section, "caretaker" means any person who has the care, custody, or control of, or who stands in a position of trust with, an elder or a dependent adult.

(j) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and Section 187 or 12022.7 or any other provision of law. However, a person shall not receive an additional term of imprisonment under both paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense, nor shall a person receive an additional term of imprisonment under both Section 12022.7 and paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense.

(k) In any case in which a person is convicted of violating these provisions, the court may require him or her to receive appropriate counseling as a condition of probation. Any defendant ordered to be placed in a counseling program shall be responsible for paying the expense of his or her participation in the counseling program as determined by the court. The court shall take into consideration the ability of the defendant to pay, and no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her inability to pay.

Civil Elder Abuse
Cal Wel & Inst Code §§ 15600 through 15766 (2017)

Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.05 (2017)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE Division 9.  Public Social Services  Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance  Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Article 2.  Definitions

"Abandonment" means the desertion or willful forsaking of an elder or a dependent adult by anyone having care or custody of that person under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care and custody.

Civil Elder Abuse
Cal Wel & Inst Code §§ 15600 through 15766 (2017)

Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.06 (2017)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE Division 9.  Public Social Services  Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance  Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Article 2.  Definitions

"Abduction" means the removal from this state and the restraint from returning to this state, or the restraint from returning to this state, of any elder or dependent adult who does not have the capacity to consent to the removal from this state and the restraint from returning to this state, or the restraint from returning to this state, as well as the removal from this state or the restraint from returning to this state, of any conservatee without the consent of the conservator or the court.

Civil Elder Abuse
Cal Wel & Inst Code §§ 15600 through 15766 (2017)

Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.07 (2017)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE Division 9.  Public Social Services  Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance  Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Article 2.  Definitions

(a) "Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult" means any of the following:(1) Physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering. (2) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. (3) Financial abuse, as defined in Section 15610.30. (b) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2016.

Civil Elder Abuse
Cal Wel & Inst Code §§ 15600 through 15766 (2017)

Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.30 (2017)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE Division 9.  Public Social Services  Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance  Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Article 2.  Definitions

(a) "Financial abuse" of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:  (1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both. (2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both. (3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.(b) A person or entity shall be deemed to have taken, secreted, appropriated, obtained, or retained property for a wrongful use if, among other things, the person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the property and the person or entity knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder or dependent adult.(c) For purposes of this section, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property when an elder or dependent adult is deprived of any property right, including by means of an agreement, donative transfer, or testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder or dependent adult.(d) For purposes of this section, "representative" means a person or entity that is either of the following: (1) A conservator, trustee, or other representative of the estate of an elder or dependent adult. (2) An attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of the power of attorney.

Civil Elder Abuse
Cal Wel & Inst Code §§ 15600 through 15766 (2017)

Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.57 (2017)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE Division 9.  Public Social Services  Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance  Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Article 2.  Definitions

(a) "Neglect" means either of the following:  (1) The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise. (2) The negligent failure of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of self care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.(b) Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: (1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter. (2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment. (3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards. (4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration. (5) Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.

Civil Elder Abuse
Cal Wel & Inst Code §§ 15600 through 15766 (2017)

Cal Wel & Inst Code § 15610.63 (2017)

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE Division 9.  Public Social Services  Part 3.  Aid and Medical Assistance  Chapter 11.  Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act Article 2.  Definitions

"Physical abuse" means any of the following:  (a) Assault, as defined in Section 240 of the Penal Code. (b) Battery, as defined in Section 242 of the Penal Code. (c) Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury, as defined in Section 245 of the Penal Code. (d) Unreasonable physical constraint, or prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water. (e) Sexual assault, that means any of the following:   (1) Sexual battery, as defined in Section 243.4 of the Penal Code.   (2) Rape, as defined in Section 261 of the Penal Code.   (3) Rape in concert, as described in Section 264.1 of the Penal Code.   (4) Spousal rape, as defined in Section 262 of the Penal Code.   (5) Incest, as defined in Section 285 of the Penal Code.   (6) Sodomy, as defined in Section 286 of the Penal Code.   (7) Oral copulation, as defined in Section 288a of the Penal Code.   (8) Sexual penetration, as defined in Section 289 of the Penal Code.   (9) Lewd or lascivious acts as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code. (f) Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication under any of the following conditions:   (1) For punishment.   (2) For a period beyond that for which the medication was ordered pursuant to the instructions of a physician and surgeon licensed in the State of California, who is providing medical care to the elder or dependent adult at the time the instructions are given.   (3) For any purpose not authorized by the physician and surgeon.

Criminal Elder Abuse
Cal. Penal Code § 13-368

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that crimes against elders and dependent adults are deserving of special consideration and protection, not unlike the special protections provided for minor children, because elders and dependent adults may be confused, on various medications, mentally or physically impaired, or incompetent, and therefore less able to protect themselves, to understand or report criminal conduct, or to testify in court proceedings on their own behalf.
(b) (1) Any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.
(2) If, in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the victim suffers great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:
(A) Three years if the victim is under 70 years of age.
(B) Five years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.
(3) If, in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the defendant proximately causes the death of the victim, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:
(A) Five years if the victim is under 70 years of age.
(B) Seven years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.
(c) Any person who knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this subdivision is punishable by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(d) Any person who is not a caretaker who violates any provision of law proscribing theft, embezzlement, forgery, or fraud, or who violates Section 530.5 proscribing identity theft, with respect to the property or personal identifying information of an elder or a dependent adult, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is an elder or a dependent adult, is punishable as follows:
(1) By a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).
(2) By a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value not exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).
(e) Any caretaker of an elder or a dependent adult who violates any provision of law proscribing theft, embezzlement, forgery, or fraud, or who violates Section 530.5 proscribing identity theft, with respect to the property or personal identifying information of that elder or dependent adult, is punishable as follows:
(1) By a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).
(2) By a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the moneys, labor, goods, services, or real or personal property taken or obtained is of a value not exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).
(f) Any person who commits the false imprisonment of an elder or a dependent adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.
(g) As used in this section, “elder” means any person who is 65 years of age or older.
(h) As used in this section, “dependent adult” means any person who is between the ages of 18 and 64, who has physical or mental limitations which restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age. “Dependent adult” includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250, 1250.2, and 1250.3 of the Health and Safety Code.
(i) As used in this section, “caretaker” means any person who has the care, custody, or control of, or who stands in a position of trust with, an elder or a dependent adult.
(j) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and Section 187 or 12022.7 or any other provision of law. However, a person shall not receive an additional term of imprisonment under both paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense, nor shall a person receive an additional term of imprisonment under both Section 12022.7 and paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense.
(k) In any case in which a person is convicted of violating these provisions, the court may require him or her to receive appropriate counseling as a condition of probation. Any defendant ordered to be placed in a counseling program shall be responsible for paying the expense of his or her participation in the counseling program as determined by the court. The court shall take into consideration the ability of the defendant to pay, and no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her inability to pay.
(l) Upon conviction for a violation of subdivision (b), (c), (d), (e), or (f), the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any restraining order be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the safety of the victim and his or her immediate family. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison or county jail, or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation.

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