Attorneys general asking lawmakers to add senior citizen protections to Victims of Crime Act

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is asking congressional leaders to amend a law to add protections for senior citizens.

On Monday, Hunter sent a letter to congressional leadership, asking them to amend the 1984 Victims of Crime Act to include senior citizens victimized by fraud as eligible for reimbursement by the Crime Victims Fund.

Reimbursements from the fund are usually reserved for victims of violent crime, not financial or white-collar crimes.

Edith’s Bill, or the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act, would direct penalties and fines from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements into the Crime Victims Fund, and the money would be used to compensate seniors who are victimized by fraud.  

The legislation is named after a Wisconsin senior who was conned out of more than $80,000 by her longtime financial adviser.

“This legislation ensures senior citizens are protected if they are taken advantage of financially by a criminal,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Especially now, with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, these are individuals who may be disconnected from their support system, making them easier targets for criminals. We must make sure we are protecting our most vulnerable from these awful crimes, and making every effort to make them whole if they have been victimized. My colleagues and I encourage Congress to act on this important legislation.”

In 2019, the AG’s Consumer Protection Unit filed felony charges in 24 cases, 16 of which involved a senior citizen. In cases only involving senior citizens, the unit secured over $370,000 in tentative restitution.  

In addition to Oklahoma, 43 other state attorneys general signed the letter.

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