Saturday, November 7, 2015

Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Person or a Person with a Disability

Effective January 1, 2016, the Illinois Criminal Code will be amended to include a new crime called "financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability." The new crime is a Class 4 felony if the value of the property is $300 or less and goes up to a Class 1 felony if the value is greater than $50,000.  

The new statute also creates a civil cause of action with the same name. The civil cause of action is available whether or not the defendant has been charged or convicted of a criminal offense under this section.  The civil cause of action provides for treble damages plus attorneys' fees to the victim or the estate of the victim.

A person commits financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability when he or she "stands in a position of trust or confidence with an elderly person or a person with a disability and he or she knowingly and by deception or intimidation obtains control over property of an elderly person or a person with a disability or illegally uses the assets or resources of an elderly person or a person with a disability."  

The statute defines "elderly" as someone over 60 years of age. The statute also provides that a person stands in a position of trust or confidence with an elderly person or person with a disability when he (i) is a parent, spouse, adult child or other relative by blood or marriage of the victim; (ii) is a joint tenant or tenant in common with the victim; (iii) has a legal or fiduciary relationship with the victim; (iv) is a financial planning or investment professional; or (v) is a paid or unpaid caregiver for the victim.

The new statute is located at 720 ILCS 5/17-56.

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