Washington Elder Fraud Statutes
Washington’s Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Act defines financial exploitation as “the illegal or improper use, control over, or withholding of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult by any person or entity for any person’s or entity’s profit or advantage other than for the vulnerable adult’s profit or advantage.”
Examples of financial exploitation include:
• The use of deception, intimidation, or undue influence by a person or entity in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult to obtain or use the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the vulnerable adult;
• The breach of a fiduciary duty, including, but not limited to, the misuse of a power of attorney, trust, or a guardianship appointment, that results in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the vulnerable adult;
• Obtaining or using a vulnerable adult’s property, income, resources, or trust funds without lawful authority, by a person or entity who knows or clearly should know that the vulnerable adult lacks the capacity to consent to the release or use of his or her property, income, resources, or trust funds.
Section 74.34.035 states that certain people are required to make a report if they believe that a vulnerable adult is being exploited financially. These mandated reporters include law enforcement officers, healthcare workers, and school personnel.
This report needs to include all pertinent information, including the names of the people involved and the nature of the exploitation. When a report is made in good faith, the person who made it will receive immunity from any liability. However, according to section 74.34.053, if a mandated reporter “knowingly fails” to make a report or makes a false report, they are guilty of a misdemeanor.
Cause of action for financial exploitation
Under section 74.34.180, a vulnerable adult subjected to financial exploitation can seek damages for loss of property. The action is available if the defendant is a corporation, unincorporated association, trust, administrator, or partnership.
If you are the victim of financial exploitation, you may be able to reclaim lost funds through arbitration or litigation. For advice from an experienced elder financial fraud attorney, contact the Silver Law Group. We are a contingency-based firm, so you won’t owe us a fee unless we help you recover money.
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