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  • NJ A309
  • Creates offense of financial exploitation of the elderly.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill creates the offense of theft by financial exploitation of the elderly. The bill provides that a person is guilty of theft by financial exploitation of the elderly if the person uses fraud, false promise, extortion, or intimidation to compel or induce any elderly person, which is defined to mean a person who is over the age of 60, to deliver the elderly person's property or personal identifying information to any person. Ordinarily, a theft offense involving $75,000 or more is a crime of the second degree; a theft offense involving more than $500 but less than $75,000 is a crime of the third degree; a theft offense involving at least $200 but no more than $500 is a crime of the fourth degree; and a theft offense involving less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense. Theft by financial exploitation of the elderly would be graded one degree higher than an ordinary theft offense when the amount involved is $500 or less. Specifically, theft by financial exploitation of the elderly would be a crime of the third degree if the amount involved is at least $200 but no more than $500, and a crime of the fourth degree if the amount involved is less than $200. Theft by financial exploitation of the elderly would be graded the same as other theft offenses when the amount involved is more than $500. A crime of the second degree is punishable by imprisonment for five to 10 years, up to a $150,000 fine, or both; a crime of the third degree is punishable by imprisonment for three to five years, up to a $15,000 fine, or both; a crime of the fourth degree is punishable by imprisonment for up to 18 months, up to a $10,000 fine, or both; a disorderly persons offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, up to a $1,000 fine, or both. The bill permits a court, on application by the prosecutor, to freeze the financial accounts of a person charged with theft by financial exploitation of the elderly. The prosecutor's application must include a statement of the approximate alleged financial loss caused by the account holder, a statement of facts relied on by the prosecutor that includes details of the charged offense, and information identifying any accounts for which the freeze is requested. The court may issue an order freezing an account upon finding there is reasonable suspicion the account holder committed the alleged offense, the accounts are specifically identified, and the freeze is necessary to ensure restitution is made to any victims. There is no requirement under the bill that the accounts for which a freeze is sought include funds or assets that are proceeds of or were used in the commission of the alleged offense. The prosecutor would be required to send a copy of the account freeze order to the account holder's last known address, or the account holder's attorney, if known, within 10 days of issuance. An order authorizing an account freeze would expire after 24 months unless extended upon good cause shown. The account holder would be entitled to a hearing on the application and obtain release of all or part of the frozen funds upon showing of any of the following: (1) the account holder has posted sufficient bond or surety to guarantee restitution to any victims; (2) reasonable suspicion does not exist that the account holder committed the alleged offense; (3) the amount of the frozen funds or assets is more than would be necessary to make restitution; or (4) the funds or assets should be returned in the interests of justice. The bill provides that financial institutions that are directed to freeze an account may exercise any right or remedy with respect to the account as provided by law, or in the deposit agreement and rules or regulations of the financial institution applicable to the account, and would not be precluded from exercising a right of set-off or from charging back or recouping a deposit to an account. A financial institution would be immune from liability for any actions taken in compliance with a court order freezing an account and any other actions taken in good faith to comply with the provisions of the bill. A financial institution would not be required to provide an account holder with notice of a freeze ordered by a court. The account freeze provisions of the bill would not be construed to abrogate or affect the status, force, or operation of the forfeiture provisions of the criminal code.
Health and Senior Services
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 
Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified