As criminals continue to target seniors for financial scams, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), today, introduced new legislation that would stiffen penalties for fraud against seniors.
"Seniors are particularly vulnerable to financial scams so it's vital that the federal government take steps to protect them," Senator Casey said. "This legislation will provide a strong deterrent to would be scammers who would prey upon seniors. Seniors represent a disproportionate amount of all fraud cases and the cost of these crimes has been trending upwards. What's needed is strong laws that make the consequences of these financial scams daunting."
Americans over the age of 65 control an estimated $18 trillion in assets, a large portion of which are investable. Seniors have difficult and complicated decisions to make on how to stretch their savings throughout their retirement. Unfortunately, seniors are often targeted with scams as they make these decisions. Despite making up only 14% of our Nation's population, the FTC reports that seniors accounted for 26% of reported fraud in 2012.
The cost of this financial fraud is significant. A 2011 study by MetLife estimated the losses from financial elder abuse at more than $2.9 billion, a 12% increase over a previous estimate they had done in 2008. The problem is also likely to continue growing, as the number of seniors is estimated to grow substantially over the next few decades. Today, there are 43 million Americans aged 65 and over. That number is expected to more than double by 2060, as seniors grow from one in seven Americans to one in five.
Senior Investor Protections Enhancement Act Provides Seniors with Needed Protections
The Senior Investor Protections Enhancement Act of 2013 would amend the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to increase the maximum civil penalties for violations that are primarily directed toward or committed against a senior (age 62 or older).
The bill would create an additional civil penalty of up to $50,000 for violations against seniors.
The bill also directs the United States Sentencing Commission to review and amend federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements to ensure that guideline offense levels and enhancements appropriately punish criminal violations of the securities laws against seniors