Our local paper, the Republican Herald, published an article on Saturday about the need for Pennsylvania state law to become tougher on the problem of elder abuse.
According to the article, representatives from the Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance (SEAPA) pleaded with local legislators on Friday to improve state laws to give prosecutors more tools to deal with elder abuse, particularly financial abuse.
The article quoted county Detective Dorothy Malec as saying, “We need…and I’m begging you…we need to have some of the things in the crime code changed to be more specific regarding power of attorney abuse. A power of attorney is not a license to steal.”
SEAPA suggested an upgrade to the definition of “Financial Exploitation” in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code to read, “A person who recklessly, knowingly or intentionally deprives an older adult of the proceeds of the older adult’s benefits under the Social Security Act or other retirement program meant for the older adult’s health care commits a felony of the second degree.”
Schuylkill County Commissioners Chairwoman Mantura M. Gallagher is quoted in the article as saying, “We’d love to see the Legislature somehow give prosecutors the tools to process these cases at a quicker rate. There are so many stumbling blocks. If the state would have something in place that would be able to assist us with the hiring of forensice accountants so we could move faster on a case, that would be great.”
In the works is House Bill 92, that would allow are agencies on aging to have the authority to investigate cases in which elder abuse and power of attorney were involved.
The elderly in our community should be allowed to enjoy their golden years without the fear of being taken advantage of financially. The law offices of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates know the importance of defending the rights of seniors, especially those in skilled nursing facilities. If you feel a loved one is being neglected or taken advantage of, contact the attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates for a free review of your case.