SB 0576 Prohibits financial exploitation of the elderly and the disabled
LR Number:2908S.04P Fiscal Note:2908-04
Committee:Aging, Families and Mental Health
Last Action:04/26/00 - HCS Voted Do Pass H Critical Issues Committee Journal page:
Title:SS SB 576
Effective Date:August 28, 2000
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Current Bill Summary

SS/SB 576 - This act provides protection for the elderly and the disabled against financial exploitation. A person stands in a position of trust if such person:

- is a parent, spouse, or other relative; - is a joint tenant or tenant in common with knowledge of such relationship; - has a legal, fiduciary, or provider relationship with the victim; or - is a health or personal care worker with a relationship with the victim.

A new Section 570.145 states that a person is guilty of financial exploitation of the elderly or disabled if that person stands in a position of trust and if that person knowingly and by deception or intimidation obtains control over the victim's property. Financial exploitation is a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property taken is $250 or less and a Class D felony if the value is over $250.

The accused may not assert a defense of reasonable belief. This act does not limit the remedies available under domestic violence law. This act does not apply to a person who has made a good faith effort to assist the elderly or disabled person with finances and it shall not limit bona fide estate planning.

Portions of this act may be known as the "Missouri Act to Prevent False Claims Against the Elderly". These portions prohibit any person from making a fraudulent claim to the state for payment for health care provided to the elderly. If a false claim is made, civil penalties between $5000 and $10,000 may be assigned, plus three times the amount of the state's damages. This act does not apply to income tax claims.

The Attorney General must investigate and prosecute false claims violations, when appropriate. Procedures for the action are outlined. Individuals pursuing actions along with the state may receive a percentage of the proceeds or settlement and court costs. Certain limitations apply to false claims actions. Any employee who is retaliated against for reporting false claims must be compensated. The "Whistleblower Reward and Protection Fund" is created and all proceeds of state actions or settlements must be deposited in the Fund and specifically allocated.

This act is substantially similar to HB 1086, HB 1386 (2000) and SB 398, SB 376, SB 942 (1999).