Consumer News

AG Schmidt: New law will better protect Kansas senior citizens

TOPEKA – (April 21, 2014) – A new law signed last week by Governor Brownback will better protect Kansas senior citizens against fraud and financial abuse, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt praised Brownback and legislators who have created the new crime of Mistreatment of an Elder Person.

“This new measure significantly strengthens the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to protect Kansas senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse,” Schmidt said. “It has tougher penalties, better investigative tools and clearer boundaries to protect seniors from having their life savings stolen or wrongfully misused.”

The new law applies whenever a victim of financial abuse is age 70 or older. Under its provisions, penalties for stealing from an elder person are substantially enhanced – potentially reaching more than 40 years in prison for large-scale financial abuse.

The new law also makes clear that misusing a trust instrument or a power of attorney in order to misappropriate an elder person’s life savings is a crime.

“Our office takes seriously the duty to protect Kansas senior citizens from fraud and abuse,” Schmidt said. “These new tools will build on the record financial recoveries our Consumer Protection Division has obtained in recent years and will allow the state to go further and put con artists who prey on Kansas seniors behind bars.”

The new measure first was proposed in January by Senators Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita) and Jeff King (R-Independence). Schmidt joined in support of their proposal during legislative consideration of the measure.