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
S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-10 (2015)

TITLE 43. SOCIAL SERVICES 

CHAPTER 35. ADULT PROTECTION 

ARTICLE 1. DUTIES AND PROCEDURES OF INVESTIGATIVE ENTITIES

§ 43-35-10. Definitions.

(3) "Exploitation" means:

(a) causing or requiring a vulnerable adult to engage in activity or labor which is improper, unlawful, or against the reasonable and rational wishes of the vulnerable adult. Exploitation does not include requiring a vulnerable adult to participate in an activity or labor which is a part of a written plan of care or which is prescribed or authorized by a licensed physician attending the patient;

(b) an improper, unlawful, or unauthorized use of the funds, assets, property, power of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship of a vulnerable adult by a person for the profit or advantage of that person or another person; or

(c) causing a vulnerable adult to purchase goods or services for the profit or advantage of the seller or another person through: (i) undue influence, (ii) harassment, (iii) duress, (iv) force, (v) coercion, or (vi) swindling by overreaching, cheating, or defrauding the vulnerable adult through cunning arts or devices that delude the vulnerable adult and cause him to lose money or other property.


(11) "Vulnerable adult" means a person eighteen years of age or older who has a physical or mental condition which substantially impairs the person from adequately providing for his or her own care or protection. This includes a person who is impaired in the ability to adequately provide for the person's own care or protection because of the infirmities of aging including, but not limited to, organic brain damage, advanced age, and physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction. A resident of a facility is a vulnerable adult.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
S.C. CODE ANN. § 43-35-10 (2015)

TITLE 43. SOCIAL SERVICES 
CHAPTER 35. ADULT PROTECTION 
ARTICLE 1. DUTIES AND PROCEDURES OF INVESTIGATIVE ENTITIES

§ 43-35-10. Definitions.

   As used in this chapter:

(1) "Abuse" means physical abuse or psychological abuse.

(2) "Caregiver" means a person who provides care to a vulnerable adult, with or without compensation, on a temporary or permanent or full or part-time basis and includes, but is not limited to, a relative, household member, day care personnel, adult foster home sponsor, and personnel of a public or private institution or facility.

(3) "Exploitation" means:

(a) causing or requiring a vulnerable adult to engage in activity or labor which is improper, unlawful, or against the reasonable and rational wishes of the vulnerable adult. Exploitation does not include requiring a vulnerable adult to participate in an activity or labor which is a part of a written plan of care or which is prescribed or authorized by a licensed physician attending the patient;

(b) an improper, unlawful, or unauthorized use of the funds, assets, property, power of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship of a vulnerable adult by a person for the profit or advantage of that person or another person; or

(c) causing a vulnerable adult to purchase goods or services for the profit or advantage of the seller or another person through: (i) undue influence, (ii) harassment, (iii) duress, (iv) force, (v) coercion, or (vi) swindling by overreaching, cheating, or defrauding the vulnerable adult through cunning arts or devices that delude the vulnerable adult and cause him to lose money or other property.

(4) "Facility" means a nursing care facility, community residential care facility, a psychiatric hospital, or any residential program operated or contracted for operation by the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

(5) "Investigative entity" means the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Adult Protective Services Program in the Department of Social Services, the Vulnerable Adults Investigations Unit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Attorney General.

(6) "Neglect" means the failure or omission of a caregiver to provide the care, goods, or services necessary to maintain the health or safety of a vulnerable adult including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services and the failure or omission has caused, or presents a substantial risk of causing, physical or mental injury to the vulnerable adult. Noncompliance with regulatory standards alone does not constitute neglect. Neglect includes the inability of a vulnerable adult, in the absence of a caretaker, to provide for his or her own health or safety which produces or could reasonably be expected to produce serious physical or psychological harm or substantial risk of death.

(7) "Occupational licensing board" means a health professional licensing board which is a state agency that licenses and regulates health care providers and includes, but is not limited to, the Board of Long Term Health Care Administrators, State Board of Nursing for South Carolina, State Board of Medical Examiners, State Board of Social Work Examiners, and the State Board of Dentistry.

(8) "Physical abuse" means intentionally inflicting or allowing to be inflicted physical injury on a vulnerable adult by an act or failure to act. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, choking, pinching, burning, actual or attempted sexual battery as defined in Section 16-3-651, use of medication outside the standards of reasonable medical practice for the purpose of controlling behavior, and unreasonable confinement. Physical abuse also includes the use of a restrictive or physically intrusive procedure to control behavior for the purpose of punishment except that a therapeutic procedure prescribed by a licensed physician or other qualified professional or that is part of a written plan of care by a licensed physician or other qualified professional is not considered physical abuse. Physical abuse does not include altercations or acts of assault between vulnerable adults.

(9) "Protective services" means those services whose objective is to protect a vulnerable adult from harm caused by the vulnerable adult or another. These services include, but are not limited to, evaluating the need for protective services, securing and coordinating existing services, arranging for living quarters, obtaining financial benefits to which a vulnerable adult is entitled, and securing medical services, supplies, and legal services.

(10) "Psychological abuse" means deliberately subjecting a vulnerable adult to threats or harassment or other forms of intimidating behavior causing fear, humiliation, degradation, agitation, confusion, or other forms of serious emotional distress.

(11) "Vulnerable adult" means a person eighteen years of age or older who has a physical or mental condition which substantially impairs the person from adequately providing for his or her own care or protection. This includes a person who is impaired in the ability to adequately provide for the person's own care or protection because of the infirmities of aging including, but not limited to, organic brain damage, advanced age, and physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction. A resident of a facility is a vulnerable adult.

(12) "Operated facility" means those facilities directly operated by the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

(13) "Contracted facility" means those public and private facilities contracted for operation by the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

Criminal Financial Exploitation
S.C. CODE ANN. § 43-35-85 (2015)

Title 43. Social Services
Chapter 35. Adult Protection
Article 1. Duties and Procedures of Investigative Entities

§43-35-85. Penalities.

 (D) A person who knowingly and wilfully exploits a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, and may be required by the court to make restitution.

Civil Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. §§  43-35-5  through § 43-35-350 (2017)

S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-10  (2017)

Title 43.  Social Services  Chapter 35.  Adult Protection  Article 1.  Duties and Procedures of Investigative Entities

  (1) "Abuse" means physical abuse or psychological abuse.

     (3) "Exploitation" means:         (a) causing or requiring a vulnerable adult to engage in activity or labor which is improper, unlawful, or against the reasonable and rational wishes of the vulnerable adult. Exploitation does not include requiring a vulnerable adult to participate in an activity or labor which is a part of a written plan of care or which is prescribed or authorized by a licensed physician attending the patient;         (b) an improper, unlawful, or unauthorized use of the funds, assets, property, power of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship of a vulnerable adult by a person for the profit or advantage of that person or another person; or         (c) causing a vulnerable adult to purchase goods or services for the profit or advantage of the seller or another person through: (i) undue influence, (ii) harassment, (iii) duress, (iv) force, (v) coercion, or (vi) swindling by overreaching, cheating, or defrauding the vulnerable adult through cunning arts or devices that delude the vulnerable adult and cause him to lose money or other property.

   (6) "Neglect" means the failure or omission of a caregiver to provide the care, goods, or services necessary to maintain the health or safety of a vulnerable adult including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services and the failure or omission has caused, or presents a substantial risk of causing, physical or mental injury to the vulnerable adult. Noncompliance with regulatory standards alone does not constitute neglect. Neglect includes the inability of a vulnerable adult, in the absence of a caretaker, to provide for his or her own health or safety which produces or could reasonably be expected to produce serious physical or psychological harm or substantial risk of death.

    (8) "Physical abuse" means intentionally inflicting or allowing to be inflicted physical injury on a vulnerable adult by an act or failure to act. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, choking, pinching, burning, actual or attempted sexual battery as defined in Section 16-3-651, use of medication outside the standards of reasonable medical practice for the purpose of controlling behavior, and unreasonable confinement. Physical abuse also includes the use of a restrictive or physically intrusive procedure to control behavior for the purpose of punishment except that a therapeutic procedure prescribed by a licensed physician or other qualified professional or that is part of a written plan of care by a licensed physician or other qualified professional is not considered physical abuse. Physical abuse does not include altercations or acts of assault between vulnerable adults.

   (10) "Psychological abuse" means deliberately subjecting a vulnerable adult to threats or harassment or other forms of intimidating behavior causing fear, humiliation, degradation, agitation, confusion, or other forms of serious emotional distress.

Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1050(B)

(B) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (E) and (F), a person who knowingly and wilfully abuses a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than five years

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1050(E)

(E) A person who knowingly and wilfully abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1050(F)

(F) A person who knowingly and wilfully abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult resulting in death is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than thirty years.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1050(D)

(D) A person who knowingly and wilfully exploits a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, and may be required by the court to make restitution.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1050(C)

(C) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (E) and (F), a person who knowingly and wilfully neglects a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than five years.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-85

(A) A person required to report under this chapter who knowingly and wilfully fails to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than twenty-five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (E) and (F), a person who knowingly and wilfully abuses a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than five years.

(C) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (E) and (F), a person who knowingly and wilfully neglects a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than five years.

(D) A person who knowingly and wilfully exploits a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, and may be required by the court to make restitution.

(E) A person who knowingly and wilfully abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years.

(F) A person who knowingly and wilfully abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult resulting in death is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than thirty years.

(G) A person who threatens, intimidates, or attempts to intimidate a vulnerable adult subject of a report, a witness, or any other person cooperating with an investigation conducted pursuant to this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than three years.

(H) A person who wilfully and knowingly obstructs or in any way impedes an investigation conducted pursuant to this chapter, upon conviction, is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than three years.

(I) As used in this section, "great bodily injury" means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t43c035.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1050(G)

 (G) A person who threatens, intimidates, or attempts to intimidate a vulnerable adult subject of a report, a witness, or any other person cooperating with an investigation conducted pursuant to this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than three years.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php
Criminal Elder Abuse
S.C. Code Ann. §  16-1-60

For purposes of definition under South Carolina law, a violent crime includes the offenses of: murder (Section 16 3 10); attempted murder (Section 16 3 29); assault and battery by mob, first degree, resulting in death (Section 16 3 210(B)), criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree (Sections 16 3 652 and 16 3 653); criminal sexual conduct with minors, first, second, and third degree (Section 16 3 655); assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, first and second degree (Section 16 3 656); assault and battery with intent to kill (Section 16 3 620); assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16 3 600(B)); kidnapping (Section 16 3 910); trafficking in persons (Section 16 3 2020); voluntary manslaughter (Section 16 3 50); armed robbery (Section 16 11 330(A)); attempted armed robbery (Section 16 11 330(B)); carjacking (Section 16 3 1075); drug trafficking as defined in Section 44 53 370(e) or trafficking cocaine base as defined in Section 44 53 375(C); manufacturing or trafficking methamphetamine as defined in Section 44 53 375; arson in the first degree (Section 16 11 110(A)); arson in the second degree (Section 16 11 110(B)); burglary in the first degree (Section 16 11 311); burglary in the second degree (Section 16 11 312(B)); engaging a child for a sexual performance (Section 16 3 810); homicide by child abuse (Section 16 3 85(A)(1)); aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse (Section 16 3 85(A)(2)); inflicting great bodily injury upon a child (Section 16 3 95(A)); allowing great bodily injury to be inflicted upon a child (Section 16 3 95(B)); domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (Section 16 25 65); domestic violence in the first degree (Section 16 25 20(B)); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death (Section 43 35 85(F)); abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury (Section 43 35 85(E)); taking of a hostage by an inmate (Section 24 13 450); detonating a destructive device upon the capitol grounds resulting in death with malice (Section 10 11 325(B)(1)); spousal sexual battery (Section 16 3 615); producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child (Section 16 3 820); sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (Section 16 15 395); sexual exploitation of a minor second degree (Section 16 15 405); promoting prostitution of a minor (Section 16 15 415); participating in prostitution of a minor (Section 16 15 425); aggravated voyeurism (Section 16 17 470(C)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death with malice (Section 16 23 720(A)(1)); detonating a destructive device resulting in death without malice (Section 16 23 720(A)(2)); boating under the influence resulting in death (Section 50 21 113(A)(2)); vessel operator’s failure to render assistance resulting in death (Section 50 21 130(A)(3)); damaging an airport facility or removing equipment resulting in death (Section 55 1 30(3)); failure to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle resulting in death (Section 56 5 750(C)(2)); interference with traffic control devices, railroad signs, or signals resulting in death (Section 56 5 1030(B)(3)); hit and run resulting in death (Section 56 5 1210(A)(3)); felony driving under the influence or felony driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration resulting in death (Section 56 5 2945(A)(2)); putting destructive or injurious materials on a highway resulting in death (Section 57 7 20(D)); obstruction of a railroad resulting in death (Section 58 17 4090); accessory before the fact to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16 1 40); and attempt to commit any of the above offenses (Section 16 1 80). Only those offenses specifically enumerated in this section are considered violent offenses.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title16.php