Rhode Island Elder Fraud Statutes
Rhode Island’s Elderly Affairs Department defines exploitation as “the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act or process of an individual, including, but not limited to, a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses.”
Duty to report
If a person has a reasonable belief that anyone age 60 or older is being exploited, a report must be made immediately to the Elderly Affairs Department or the appropriate law enforcement agency, as per section 42-66-8. If a report isn’t made, this will result in a fine of up to $1,000. Section 42-66-11 states that if someone makes a report in good faith, he or she will receive immunity from civil or criminal liability.
Elder fraud investigations
According to section 11-5-12, when a report is made, an investigation will begin right away. If the investigator believes it is in the best interests of the victim, he or she may be interviewed alone and without the presence of a guardian, caretaker, or someone else responsible for their welfare. If access to the victim is denied, local law enforcement may be contacted.
After the investigation is conducted, protective services may be deemed necessary. In this instance, a care plan will be established in conjunction with the appropriate public and private agencies.
Exploitation of adults with severe impairments
In Rhode Island, there are separate statutes for adults with severe impairments. These are people age 18 and older with disabilities “attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments” that result in limitations related to:
- Receptive and/or expressive language
- Capacity of independent living
- Economic self-sufficiency
If someone who is responsible for the welfare of an adult with a severe impairment “willfully and knowingly” exploits that adult, the penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to five years.
Help is available to victims of elder fraud in Rhode Island
We’re you defrauded out of money? The Silver Law Group may be able to help you get it back. To find out what we can do for you, call us at 800-975-4345 or get in touch through our online contact form. Our elder financial fraud attorneys work on contingency, which means no fee is required unless you recover money.
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