Exploitation of Elderly

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Exploitation of Elderly

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Exploitation of Elderly Statutes

The legislature, recognizing that the elderly and disabled are in need of protection, enacted legislation designed to prevent the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of elderly persons and disabled adults. The Adult Protective Services Act, among other things, establishes a central abuse registry and tracking system, requires mandatory reporting of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of disabled adults or elderly persons, and authorizes investigations and interventions, and confidentiality of reports and records. The Act requires the Department of Children and Family Services to maintain a central abuse hotline to receive reports of abuse and provides for criminal penalties for failing to report suspected abuse.

The legislature further enacted laws to penalize the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult. Pursuant to these provisions, an "elderly person" is defined as a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging as manifested by advanced age or organic brain damage, or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunctioning to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for his or her own care or protection is impaired. A "disabled adult" is defined as a person 18 years of age or older who suffers from a condition of physical or mental incapacitation due to a developmental disability, organic brain damage, or mental illness, or who has one or more physical or mental limitations that restrict the person's ability to perform the normal activities of daily living.

A person suffering from one or more physical or mental limitations that restricts his or her ability to perform normal activities of daily living qualifies as a "disabled adult" within the meaning of the neglect of elderly or disabled adult statute.

Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult

A person is guilty of the "exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult" when (1) that person either stands in a position of trust and confidence, or has a business relationship, with the elderly person or disabled adult and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, an elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive that person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult; (2) he or she obtains or uses, endeavors to obtain or use, or conspires with another to obtain or use an elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive that person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, and he or she knows or reasonably should know that the elderly person or disabled adult lacks the capacity to consent; or (3) he or she, acting as the guardian or agent under a power of attorney, breaches a fiduciary duty to the elderly person or disabled adult and such breach results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property.

"Position of trust and confidence" means the position of a person who:

(1) Is a parent, spouse, adult child, or other relative by blood or marriage of the elderly person or disabled adult;

(2) Is a joint tenant or tenant in common with the elderly person or disabled adult;

(3) Has a legal or fiduciary relationship with the elderly person or disabled adult, including, but not limited to, a court-appointed or voluntary guardian, trustee, attorney, or conservator;

(4) Is a caregiver of the elderly person or disabled adult; or

(5) Is any other person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the use or management of the elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property.

A "business relationship" is defined as a relationship between two or more individuals or entities where there exists an oral or written contract or agreement for goods or services.

The term "lacks capacity to consent" means an impairment by reason of mental illness, developmental disability, organic brain disorder, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, short-term memory loss, or other cause, that causes an elderly person or disabled adult to lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate reasonable decisions concerning the elderly person's or disabled adult's person or property.

Intent is a necessary element of the offense of exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult. Therefore, to be found guilty, the State must prove that the person intended to deceive or intimidate the elderly person or disabled adult. Evidence that the transaction is suspicious is not enough. Evidence has been found to be insufficient to prove exploitation where the defendant did not deposit any of the victim's money into his or her own bank account and did not suddenly acquire property.

Illustration:

The evidence was insufficient to establish that the defendant deceived the victim with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive him of his funds, assets, or property so as to support a conviction for exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult. The State offered no direct or indirect evidence that the defendant obtained actual possession of the allegedly missing money, much less evidence that she did so by deception, the State's claim that the defendant helped the victim close his existing bank accounts and open new ones was supported by the record, but the evidence suggested that the victim desired to close the accounts because he was convinced his daughter was mishandling his finances, and the State proved nothing more than that the defendant helped the victim accomplish these tasks.

If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided by statute. If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided by statute.

If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided by statute.

Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult; penalties

Currentness

(1) “Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult” means:

(a) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or use, an elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elderly person or disabled adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, by a person who:

1. Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elderly person or disabled adult; or

2. Has a business relationship with the elderly person or disabled adult;

(b) Obtaining or using, endeavoring to obtain or use, or conspiring with another to obtain or use an elderly person's or disabled adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elderly person or disabled adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the elderly person or disabled adult lacks the capacity to consent; or

(c) Breach of a fiduciary duty to an elderly person or disabled adult by the person's guardian or agent under a power of attorney which results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property.

(2)(a) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult is valued at less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

Reference 2014 Florida Statutes

CHAPTER 825
ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF ELDERLY PERSONS AND DISABLED ADULTS
825.101

Definitions.
825.102

Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult; penalties.
825.1025

Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person.
825.103

Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult; penalties.
825.104

Knowledge of victim’s age.
825.105

Good faith assistance.
825.106

Criminal actions involving elderly persons or disabled adults; speedy trial.