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
W. Va. Code § 9-6-1  (2020)

Chapter 9.  Human Services.

Article 6.  Social Services for Adults.

(7) “Financial exploitation” means the intentional misappropriation, misuse, or use of undue influence to cause the misuse of funds or assets of a vulnerable adult or facility resident, but does not apply to a transaction or disposition of funds or assets where a person made a good-faith effort to assist the vulnerable adult or facility resident with the management of his or her money or other things of value;



(5) “Vulnerable adult” means any person over the age of 18, or an emancipated minor, who by reason of physical or mental condition is unable to independently carry on the daily activities of life necessary to sustaining life and reasonable health and protection;

Criminal Financial Exploitation
W. Va. Code § 61-2-29b(h)(1)-(4) (2020)

Chapter 61. Crimes and Their Punishment
Article 2. Crimes Against the Person 
§ 61-2-29b. Financial exploitation of an elderly person, protected person, or incapacitated adult; penalties; definitions

(h) For the purposes of this section:

(3) “Financial exploitation” or “financially exploit” means the intentional misappropriation or misuse of funds or assets of an elderly person, protected person, or incapacitated adult, but shall not apply to a transaction or disposition of funds or assets where the accused made a good-faith effort to assist the elderly person, protected person, or incapacitated adult with the management of his or her money or other things of value; and


(1) “Incapacitated adult” means a person as defined by § 61-2-29 of this code;

(2) “Elderly person” means a person who is 65 years or older;

(4) “Protected person” means any person who is defined as a “protected person” in § 44A-1-4 of this code and who is subject to the protections of chapter 44A or 44C of this code.

Criminal Elder Abuse
W. Va. Code § 61-2-29b.

(a) Any person who financially exploits an elderly person, protected person or an incapacitated adult in the amount of less than $1,000 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or confined in jail for not more than one year, or both fined and confined.

(b) Any person who financially exploits an elderly person, protected person or an incapacitated adult in the amount of $1,000 or more is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000 and imprisoned in a state correctional facility not less than two nor more than twenty years.

(c) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall, in addition to any other penalties at law, be subject to an order of restitution.

(d) In determining the value of the money, goods, property or services referred to in subsection (a) of this section, it shall be permissible to cumulate amounts or values where such money, goods, property or services were fraudulently obtained as part of a common scheme or plan.

(e) Financial institutions and their employees, as defined by section one, article two-a, chapter thirty-one-a of this code and as permitted by subsection thirteen, section four of said article, others engaged in financially related activities, as defined by section one, article eight-c, chapter thirty-one-a of this code, caregivers, relatives and other concerned persons are permitted to report suspected cases of financial exploitation to state or federal law-enforcement authorities, the county prosecuting attorney and to the Department of Health and Human Resources, Adult Protective Services Division or Medicaid Fraud Division, as appropriate. Public officers and employees are required to report suspected cases of financial exploitation to the appropriate entities as stated above. The requisite agencies shall investigate or cause the investigation of the allegations.

(f) When financial exploitation is suspected and to the extent permitted by federal law, financial institutions and their employees or other business entities required by federal law or regulation to file suspicious activity reports and currency transaction reports shall also be permitted to disclose suspicious activity reports or currency transaction reports to the prosecuting attorney of any county in which the transactions underlying the suspicious activity reports or currency transaction reports occurred.

(g) Any person or entity that in good faith reports a suspected case of financial exploitation pursuant to this section is immune from civil liability founded upon making that report.

(h) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Incapacitated adult" means a person as defined by section twenty-nine of this article;

(2) "Elderly person" means a person who is sixty-five years or older;

(3) "Financial exploitation" or "financially exploit" means the intentional misappropriation or misuse of funds or assets of an elderly person, protected person or incapacitated adult, but shall not apply to a transaction or disposition of funds or assets where the accused made a good-faith effort to assist the elderly person, protected person or incapacitated adult with the management of his or her money or other things of value; and

(4) "Protected person" means any person who is defined as a "protected person" in section four, article one, chapter forty-four-a of this code and who is subject to the protections of chapter forty-four-a or forty-four-c of this code.

(i) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, acting as guardian, conservator, trustee or attorney for or holding power of attorney for an elderly person, protected person or incapacitated adult shall not, standing alone, constitute a defense to a violation of subsection (a) of this section.

http://www.wvlegislature.gov/WVCODE/ChapterEntire....
Criminal Elder Abuse
W. Va. Code § 61-2-29 (2020)

(a) The following words, when used in this section and sections twenty-nine-a [§ 61-2-29a] and twenty-nine-b [§ 61-2-29b] of this article, have the meaning ascribed, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) “Abuse” means the intentional infliction of bodily injury on an incapacitated adult;

(2) “Bodily injury” means substantial physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition;

(3) “Caregiver” means any person who has assumed the legal responsibility or a contractual obligation for the care of an incapacitated adult, or has voluntarily assumed responsibility for the care of an incapacitated adult. The term includes a facility operated by any public or private agency, organization or institution which provides services to, and has assumed responsibility for the care of an incapacitated adult.

(4) “Incapacitated adult” means any person eighteen years of age or older who by reason of advanced age, physical, mental or other infirmity is unable to carry on the daily activities of life necessary to sustaining life and reasonable health;

(5) “Neglect” means the unreasonable failure by a caregiver to provide the care necessary to assure the physical safety or health of an incapacitated adult; and

(6) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, which causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

(b) A caregiver who neglects an incapacitated adult or who knowingly permits another person to neglect an incapacitated adult is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 or confined in jail for not more than one year, or both fined and confined.

(c) A caregiver who abuses an incapacitated adult or who knowingly permits another person to abuse an incapacitated adult is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 or confined in jail for not less than ninety days nor more than one year, or both fined and confined.

(d) A caregiver of an incapacitated adult who intentionally and maliciously abuses or neglects an incapacitated adult and causes the incapacitated adult bodily injury is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and imprisoned in a state correctional facility not less than two years nor more than ten years.

(e) A caregiver of an incapacitated adult who intentionally and maliciously abuses or neglects an incapacitated adult and causes the incapacitated adult serious bodily injury is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 and imprisoned in a state correctional facility not less than three years nor more than fifteen years.