New Kansas law enhances penalty for stealing from elderly

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 23, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt praised the passage of a new law on Monday that he says will better protect Kansas senior citizens against financial abuse and fraud.

Schmidt praised Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators for the law, which creates 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 significantly enhances penalties for stealing from an elderly person, which can reach more than 40 years in prison for a large-scale financial abuse, Schmidt says. It also clearly states that misusing a trust investment or power of attorney to misappropriate an elderly person's life savings is a crime. The law applies to victims of financial abuse age 70 or older.

"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."

State Sens. Michael O'Donnell, R-Wichita, and Jeff King, R-Independence, first proposed the measure in January. Schmidt supported the proposal during legislative consideration of the law.

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