Governor Signs Bolden Bill to Protect Seniors from Financial Exploitation

WILMINGTON – Surrounded by seniors at Sacred Heart Village, Governor Jack Markell signed legislation into law Tuesday that will protect seniors’ financial assets from exploitation.

Sponsored by Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, House Bill 417 provides a mechanism for financial institutions to freeze transactions that they suspect are financial exploitation of an elderly person. The new law requires the financial institution to report the suspected financial exploitation to proper agencies. If the Department of Health and Social Services discovers financial exploitation of an elderly person, the banks have the authority to hold transactions upon receipt of that information.

“We have all heard of the issue of seniors being taken advantage of and their limited financial resources stolen,” said Rep. Bolden, D-Wilmington East. “Financial exploitation of the elderly is a terrible crime that can shatter a person’s life. By the grace of God, our seniors are living longer. No one got here by ourselves – it is time to give back and provide safety for those who provided a future for us. This bill is a step forward in enhancing the lives of our precious elders. I’m grateful for all the hard work everyone put into this bill to get it passed and signed into law.”

The bill was signed at Sacred Heart Village, an affordable housing community for seniors located in Rep. Bolden’s downtown Wilmington district.

“This law will provide an important tool to strengthen the state’s efforts combatting elder abuse,” said Governor Markell. “I thank Representative Bolden, along with Senator Henry and the other legislators supporting House Bill 417, for recognizing the opportunity to address the prevalence of financial exploitation of our seniors and for ensuring the bill focused on preventing these crimes from happening in the first place.”

HB 417 also updates the definition of exploitation and creates a definition of financial exploitation for any adult who is impaired.