Texas Elder Fraud Statutes
In chapter 48 of Texas’s Human Resources code, exploitation is defined as “the illegal or improper act or process of a caretaker, family member, or other individual who has an ongoing relationship with an elderly person or person with a disability that involves using, or attempting to use, the resources of the elderly person or person with a disability, including the person’s social security number or other identifying information, for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain without the informed consent of the person.”
Section 48.051 states that any person who believes an elderly person is being exploited has to make a report immediately. This report needs to include the name of the elderly person, the name of his or her caretaker (if this applies), the nature of the exploitation, and any other relevant information.
If someone fails to make a report or makes a false report, this is a Class A misdemeanor. As per section 48.054, as long as a report is made in good faith, the person making it will be immune from any criminal or civil liability.
During an investigation of possible exploitation, a state agency will figure out if an elderly person requires protective services. If these services are needed, the department will then determine how they can best be provided. Section 48.205 says that, if available, existing resources and services will be used. In some circumstances – such as for people in remote or rural areas – the department may contract with protective services agencies.
House Bill 3921
In 2017, Texas enacted House Bill 3921, aiming to further protect elderly people from fraud and exploitation. Previously, Texas financial institutions could stop transactions if they believed fraudulent activity was involved, but the new law now gives them immunity from litigation. The hope is that banks and security firms will be more vigilant and willing to step in if they think their customers are in danger.
Do you suspect that you are a victim of elder fraud? Or perhaps a parent or grandparent is a victim? Individuals have a right to seek funds that may have been lost due to financial mismanagement or fraud. To learn about your legal options, get in touch with the Silver Law Group. One of our experienced elder financial fraud attorneys will provide a free consultation. Call us toll-free at 1-800-975-4345 or just fill out our online contact form.
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