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South Carolina Elder Fraud Statutes

Under South Carolina’s Adult Protection law, exploitation has three meanings:

  • Causing or requiring a vulnerable adult to engage in activity or labor which is improper, unlawful, or against the reasonable and rational wishes of the vulnerable adult. Exploitation does not include requiring a vulnerable adult to participate in an activity or labor which is a part of a written plan of care or which is prescribed or authorized by a licensed physician attending the patient
  • An improper, unlawful, or unauthorized use of the funds, assets, property, power of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship of a vulnerable adult by a person for the profit or advantage of that person or another person
  • Causing a vulnerable adult to purchase goods or services for the profit or advantage of the seller or another person through: undue influence, harassment, duress, force, coercion, or swindling by overreaching, cheating, or defrauding the vulnerable adult through cunning arts or devices that delude the vulnerable adult and cause him to lose money or other property.

Reporting duties

Section 43-35-25 makes it clear that anyone who has “reason to believe” an elderly adult is being exploited needs to make a report within 24 hours or the next business day to the Adult Protective Services Program.

If someone makes a report in good faith or helps with an investigation or judicial proceeding, he or she will receive immunity from any criminal or civil liability. If a person obligated to make a report fails to do so, they are guilty of a misdemeanor. This comes with a penalty of a fine of up to $2,500 or a jail term of up to one year.

Elder fraud penalties

As per section 43-35-85, anyone who exploits a vulnerable adult “knowingly and willfully” has committed a felony. The penalty for this is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to five years. In addition, if someone threatens or intimidates a vulnerable adult or attempts to obstruct an investigation, this is a misdemeanor that comes with a fine of up to $5,000 or a jail term of up to three years.

Are you the victim of elder exploitation or fraud? The Silver Law Group may be able to help you recover lost funds. To speak to an experienced elder financial fraud attorney, call us at 800-975-4345. You can also contact us through our online form.

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