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Hoffman-backed law protecting seniors from financial exploitation now in effect

From Illinois Business Journal news services

BELLEVILLE – A new law co-sponsored by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, aims to help protect seniors from fraud and financial exploitation.

The law, which cracks down on criminals who abuse the trust of an elderly resident by using deception or intimidation to illegally use the person’s assets, took effect this year.

“Individuals who prey on the elderly need to be held accountable for their crimes,” Hoffman said.

Prior to the law, individuals could be charged with financial exploitation if they failed to return a victim’s property within 60 days of a written demand from the victim. The new law stemming from House Bill 1588 allows a person to be charged if it is proven that person used deception or intimidation to exploit the trust or confidence of a senior in order to take control of property or other assets. The thief is liable to the victim in damages three times the amount of the value of the property, plus reasonable attorney fees and court costs.

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