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AG Derek Schmidt to testify in US Senate on combating elder fraud

Release Date: Jan 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – (January 15, 2019) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will testify tomorrow before a U.S. Senate committee on strengthening efforts to combat fraud against older Americans.

Schmidt will testify at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging as part of the committee’s hearing on “Fighting Elder Fraud: Progress Made, Work to Be Done.” He will highlight the work of the Kansas attorney general’s office and the National Association of Attorneys General to fight elder abuse, particularly scams and rip-offs targeting older Americans.

During his tenure as attorney general, Schmidt has made a priority of building capacity and focusing resources on fraud and abuse investigations and prosecutions, including those involving older Kansans. Additionally, during Schmidt’s tenure as National Association of Attorneys General president from 2017-2018, he led NAAG’s Presidential Initiative “Protecting America’s Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse.”

In his testimony, Schmidt makes four specific recommendations:

  • Continue cooperative efforts among states, federal authorities and telecommunication companies to continually identify and adopt more-effective approaches to blocking illegal robocalls;
  • Step up outreach and education to continually help older Americans be alert to avoid scams and rip-offs;
  • Promote federal-state cooperation to investigate and prosecute more cases and bring more fraudsters to justice; and
  • Amend federal law to allow states to use their Medicaid Fraud Control Units to detect, investigate and prosecute fraud committed against patients in the Medicaid program.

Schmidt notes that between 1900 and 2010, the number of Americans age 65 and older grew from fewer than 5 million to more than 40 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Over the same time, the portion of the population in that age bracket rose from about 3 percent to more than 12 percent. As the baby boomers continue into retirement, roughly 10,000 Americans turn age 65 each day, and that trend is expected to continue for the next decade. By one estimate, one in every 10 Americans age 65 or older who lives at home will become a victim of abuse, which can include financial abuse such as scams and rip-offs.

The committee will conduct its hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 9:30 a.m. EST, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562. The hearing will be streamed live on the committee’s website www.aging.senate.gov.

A copy of Schmidt’s written testimony is available at http://bit.ly/2Cmrs4c.

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