Senior Abuse Hits the Headlines (Again)
Lately it seems like you can’t read the news without coming across information about elder financial abuse. This week, the former business manager of comic book legend Stan Lee was arrested for fiduciary elder abuse in Arizona and will be extradited to California to face charges. Closer to home, a Philadelphia lawyer allegedly stole $100,000 from an elderly client in order to gamble with the money. Finally, in more positive news, the SEC, NASAA, and FINRA have gotten together to issue a fact sheet concerning the Senior Safe Act in the hope of raising awareness about elder financial fraud and abuse. In other words, these agencies and regulators are trying to work against people like Stan Lee’s former business and the Philly lawyer.
Major Regulators Combine to Issue Elder Financial Fraud Fact Sheet
Signed into law a year ago, the Senior Safe Act specifically addresses how financial professionals can do a better job in reporting suspected senior financial abuse and exploitation to the authorities. The fact sheet was circulated on the first anniversary of the passage of the Senior Safe Act in order to further promote awareness or resources and training among financial professionals, institutions, senior investors, and their families.
SEC, NASAA, and FINRA Remind Financial Professionals of Duties Regarding Seniors
Unusually, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) worked together to get the word out about this important act. While for the most part they have focused their efforts on cleaning up the securities and investment industry and reducing instances of elder financial exploitation, these agencies have been careful to point out that this problem often lies at the intersection of financial professionals and the investors themselves.
Elder Financial Abuse Occurs Most Often Close to Home
Unfortunately, elder financial abuse typically occurs between an elder person and someone in whom they place a great amount of trust. This person can be a financial advisor; or it can be a member of the family; or a caretaker. The sad truth is, that while nefarious cyber-criminals do exist and steal money from seniors, they most common acts of financial fraud are far more pedestrian and close to home. The Senior Safe Act is one prong in a multi-faceted approach by regulators to stop elder abuse where it most commonly occurs. It gives financial professionals who are often the first to notice irregularities in an aging client’s account powerful tools to intervene.
The Fact Sheet issued by the SEC, NASAA, and FINRA is yet another step in the right direction toward reducing the damage caused to elderly Americans who fall prey to financial abuse or fraud.