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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
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-4.1  (2016)

TITLE 42.  STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT 

CHAPTER 66.  ELDERLY AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT

§ 42-66-4.1  Definitions

(2) "Exploitation" means the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act or process of an individual, including, but not limited to, a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses.


(8) "Elderly person" or "elder" means any person sixty (60) years of age or older.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-68-1  (2016) (Enhanced penalty, R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-41-5 (2016))
Title 11. Criminal Offenses

CHAPTER 68. Exploitation of Elders

§ 11-68-1  Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

   (1) "Business relationship" means a relationship between two (2) or more individuals or entities where there exists an oral or written contract or agreement for goods or services.

   (2) "Caregiver" means a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care or the property of an elder person. Caregiver includes, but is not limited to, relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of elder care facilities.

   (3) "Deception" means misrepresenting or concealing a material fact relating to:

   (i) Services rendered, disposition of property, or use of property, when such services or property are intended to benefit an elder person; or

   (ii) Terms of a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or

   (iii) An existing or preexisting condition of any property involved in a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or

   (iv) Using any misrepresentation, false pretense, or false promise in order to induce, encourage or solicit an elder person to enter into a contract or agreement.

   (4) "Elder person" means a person sixty-five (65) years of age or older.

   (5) "Intimidation" means the communication by word or act to an elder person that the elder person will be deprived of food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, medical services, money, or financial support or will suffer physical violence.

   (6) "Lacks capacity to consent" means an impairment by reason of mental illness, developmental disability, organic brain disorder, physical illness or disability, short-term memory loss, or other cause, that causes an elder person to lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate reasonable decisions concerning the elder person's person or property.

   (7) "Position of trust and confidence" with respect to an elder person means the position of a person who:

   (i) Is a spouse, adult child, or other relative by blood or marriage of the elder person;

   (ii) Is a joint tenant or tenant in common with the elder person;

   (iii) Has a legal or fiduciary relationship with the elder person including, but not limited to, a court-appointed or voluntary guardian, trustee, attorney, or conservator;

   (iv) Is the caregiver of the elder person; or

   (v) Is any other person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the use or management of the elder person's funds, assets, or property.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-68-2 (2016)
Title 11. Criminal Offenses

CHAPTER 68. Exploitation of Elders

§ 11-68-2  Exploitation of an elder.

(a) A person is guilty of exploitation of an elder person if that person:

   (1) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, an elder person's funds, assets or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elder person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets or property, or to benefit someone other than the elder person by a person who:

   (i) Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elder person; or

   (ii) Has a business relationship with the elder person; or

   (2) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, endeavors to obtain or use, or conspires with another to obtain or use an elder person's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elder person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elder person, by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the elder person lacks the capacity to consent.

   (b) Any person who shall exploit an elder person as defined in this chapter shall be guilty of a felony.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-68-3 (2016)

Title 11. Criminal Offenses
CHAPTER 68.   Exploitation of Elders

§ 11-68-3. Penalties for violations.

Any person convicted of exploiting an elder person as provided under this chapter shall be punished as follows:

   (1) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elder person are valued at less than five hundred dollars ($500), the person shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than five (5) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or both.

   (2) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elder person are valued at five hundred dollars ($500) or more, but less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), the person shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than fifteen (15) years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or both.

   (3) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elder person are valued at one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more, the person shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) years or by a fine of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or both.

Civil Elder Abuse
R.I. Gen. Laws §§  42-66-1 through  42-66-17  (2017)

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-4.1  (2017)

TITLE 42.  STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT  CHAPTER 66.  ELDERLY AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT

  (1) "Abuse" means physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or emotional abuse of an elderly person by a caregiver as defined in subsection (5).

(a) "Physical abuse" means the willful infliction of physical pain or injury (e.g. slapping, bruising or restraining) upon an elderly person.

   (b) "Sexual abuse" means the infliction of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind upon an elderly person. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, rape, sexual misuse or exploitation of an elder, as well as threats of sexual abuse where the perpetrator has the intent and the capacity to carry out the threatened abuse.

     (c) "Emotional abuse" means a pattern of willful infliction of mental or emotional harm upon an elder by threat, intimidation, isolation or other abusive conduct.

 (2) "Exploitation" means the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act or process of an individual, including, but not limited to, a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses.

   (3) "Neglect" means the willful failure by a caregiver or other person with a duty of care to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental harm or mental illness to an elderly person, including, but not limited to, "abandonment" (withdrawal of necessary assistance) and denial of food or health related services.

Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws § 11-5-12

(1) "Abuse" means the subjection of an adult with a severe impairment to willful infliction of physical pain, willful deprivation of services necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of the person, or unreasonable confinement.

(2) "Adult with severe impairments" means a person over the age of eighteen (18) who has a disability which is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments and results in substantial functional limitations in one or more of the following areas of major life activity: (i) mobility; (ii) self-care; (iii) communication; (iv) receptive and/or expressive language; (v) learning; (vi) self-direction; (vii) capacity for independent living; or (viii) economic self-sufficiency.

(3) "Exploitation" means an act or process of taking pecuniary advantage of impaired persons by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation, false pretenses, or misappropriation of funds.

(4) "Neglect" means the willful refusal to provide services necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of an adult with severe impairments.

(5) "Person primarily responsible for care" or "caregiver" means any person who is for a significant period of time the primary caregiver or is primarily responsible for the management of the funds of an adult with severe impairments.

(c) Violations of this section shall be reported to the local police department.

(d) After July 1, 2007 pursuant to § 40-8.5-2, the local police department may request the department of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals provide crisis intervention services for the adult victim with severe impairments when:

(1) necessary to ensure the immediate health and safety of the adult victim;

(2) the adult victim relies on the person believed to have committed the abuse, neglect and/or exploitation, for assistance in performing three (3) or more major life activities; and

(3) After the victim is informed of his or her right to refuse crisis intervention and/or supportive services.

(e) Any person who fails to report known or suspected abuse or neglect shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(f) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to apply to the discontinuance of life-support systems or life-sustaining treatment for an adult for whom, if the treatment were terminated, death may result.

(g) Any person participating in good faith in making a report pursuant to this chapter, excluding any perpetrator or conspirator of the acts, shall have immunity from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prohibit the use of any medical or psychological treatment procedure designed and conducted in accordance with applicable professional standards when performed by appropriately trained personnel under the supervision of a person or facility licensed or approved by the state of Rhode Island and when any consent as is required by law has been obtained.

(i) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to mean a person is abused or neglected for the sole reason that the person is being furnished or relies upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a church or religious denomination recognized by the laws of this state.

(j) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to mean a person is abused or neglected when the parent or legal guardian of an adult with severe impairments, who is the person primarily responsible for care of the adult, (1) decides, in good faith, not to accept support services from a governmental agency, which in the opinion of the parent or legal guardian and the adult, is considered to be inappropriate or inconsistent with the best interests of that adult; or (2) decides, in good faith, to reduce or discontinue assistance to that adult who is developing, acquiring or practicing independent decision-making or living skills.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws § 11-5-10.3

Any person who shall commit an assault and battery upon a person sixty (60) years of age or older, causing bodily injury, and who was, at the time of the assault and battery, responsible for the care and treatment of the victim, shall be deemed to have committed a felony and shall be imprisoned not exceeding five (5) years, or fined not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both. Further, if at the time of the assault and battery the person committing the act was employed by a health care facility that either condoned the act or attempted to conceal it, the health care facility shall be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000).

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws § 11-5-10.4

(a) Any person who shall commit an assault or battery, or both, upon a person sixty (60) years of age or older, causing serious bodily injury, and who was, at the time of the assault and battery, responsible for the care and treatment of the victim, shall be deemed to have committed a felony and shall be imprisoned for not less than two (2) years but not more than twenty (20) years, or fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both. Further, if at the time of the assault and battery the person committing the act was employed by a health care facility that either condoned the act or attempted to conceal it, the health care facility shall be fined not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). Every person so convicted shall be ordered to make restitution to the victim of the offense or to perform up to five hundred (500) hours of public community restitution work or attend violence counseling and/or substance abuse counseling, or any combination of them imposed by the sentencing judge. The court may not waive the obligation to make restitution and/or public community restitution work. The restitution and/or public community restitution work shall be in addition to any fine or sentence which may be imposed and not in lieu of the fine or sentence.

(b) "Serious bodily injury" means physical injury that:

(1) Creates a substantial risk of death;

(2) Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part, member or organ; or

(3) Causes serious permanent disfigurement.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws § 11-5-10

Any person who shall commit an assault and battery upon a person sixty (60) years of age or older, causing bodily injury, shall be deemed to have committed a felony and shall be imprisoned not exceeding five (5) years, or fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws § 11-5-10.1

(a) Any person who shall commit an assault or battery, or both, upon a person sixty (60) years of age or older, causing serious bodily injury, shall be deemed to have committed a felony and shall be imprisoned for not less than three (3) years but not more than twenty (20) years, or fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both. Every person so convicted shall be ordered to make restitution to the victim of the offense or to perform up to five hundred (500) hours of public community restitution work or attend violence counseling and/or substance abuse counseling, or any combination of them imposed by the sentencing judge. The court may not waive the obligation to make restitution and/or public community restitution work. The restitution and/or public community restitution work shall be in addition to any fine or sentence which may be imposed and not in lieu of the fine or sentence.

(b) "Serious bodily injury" means physical injury that:

(1) Creates a substantial risk of death;

(2) Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part, member or organ; or

(3) Causes serious permanent disfigurement.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws § 11-8-2.3

(a) Every person who shall break and enter any dwelling house or apartment, without the consent of the owner or tenant at a time when a resident of the dwelling house or apartment who is sixty (60) years of age or older is on the premises, shall be imprisoned for not less than four (4) years and not more than twenty (20) years for the first conviction, and for the second and subsequent convictions shall be imprisoned for not less than six (6) years and not more than twenty (20) years, and may in addition be fined not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for a first conviction and not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for second and subsequent convictions.

(b) Every person convicted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be ordered to make restitution to the victim of the offense, or to perform up to five hundred (500) hours of public community restitution work, or both, or any combination of them imposed by the sentencing judge. The court may not waive the obligation to make restitution and/or public community restitution work. Restitution and/or public community restitution work shall be in addition to any fine or sentence which may be imposed and not in lieu of the fine or sentence; provided, that nothing contained in this section shall be construed to require the payment of restitution while the convicted person is imprisoned.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws §  11-68-2

(a) A person is guilty of exploitation of an elder person if that person:

(1) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, an elder person's funds, assets or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elder person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets or property, or to benefit someone other than the elder person by a person who:

(i) Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elder person; or

(ii) Has a business relationship with the elder person; or

(2) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, endeavors to obtain or use, or conspires with another to obtain or use an elder person's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elder person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elder person, by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the elder person lacks the capacity to consent.

(b) Any person who shall exploit an elder person as defined in this chapter shall be guilty of a felony.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...
Criminal Elder Abuse
R.I.   Gen. Laws §  11-68-1

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Business relationship" means a relationship between two (2) or more individuals or entities where there exists an oral or written contract or agreement for goods or services.

(2) "Caregiver" means a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care or the property of an elder person. Caregiver includes, but is not limited to, relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of elder care facilities.

(3) "Deception" means misrepresenting or concealing a material fact relating to:

(i) Services rendered, disposition of property, or use of property, when such services or property are intended to benefit an elder person; or

(ii) Terms of a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or

(iii) An existing or preexisting condition of any property involved in a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or

(iv) Using any misrepresentation, false pretense, or false promise in order to induce, encourage or solicit an elder person to enter into a contract or agreement.

(4) "Elder person" means a person sixty-five (65) years of age or older.

(5) "Intimidation" means the communication by word or act to an elder person that the elder person will be deprived of food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, medical services, money, or financial support or will suffer physical violence.

(6) "Lacks capacity to consent" means an impairment by reason of mental illness, developmental disability, organic brain disorder, physical illness or disability, short-term memory loss, or other cause, that causes an elder person to lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate reasonable decisions concerning the elder person's person or property.

(7) "Position of trust and confidence" with respect to an elder person means the position of a person who:

(i) Is a spouse, adult child, or other relative by blood or marriage of the elder person;

(ii) Is a joint tenant or tenant in common with the elder person;

(iii) Has a legal or fiduciary relationship with the elder person including, but not limited to, a court-appointed or voluntary guardian, trustee, attorney, or conservator;

(iv) Is the caregiver of the elder person; or

(v) Is any other person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the use or management of the elder person's funds, assets, or property.

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE1...