LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad’s legislation to help protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation was unanimously passed by the Senate on Tuesday.
“This bill will help protect many of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Sadly, the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is all too common. This crime often happens without the victim’s knowledge and is perpetrated by someone they trusted or who was appointed to protect them. As a result, it often goes unreported and undetected until consequences surface.”
Senate Bill 315 would allow financial advisors and broker-dealers to place a hold on disbursements from a specified adult’s account if they suspect financial exploitation is taking place or will take place. The bill would also establish specific procedures to be followed and limit the initial hold up to 15 days, which could be extended if warranted after further review of the facts.
“One of the most important duties I have as an elected leader is working to protect our most vulnerable residents,” Runestad said. “This bill will make a difference by empowering certain financial advisors and brokers to stop exploitation before it occurs.”
Specified adults under the bill include people age 65 or older and adults age 18 or older who has a mental or physical impairment that makes them unable to protect their own interests.
According to an elder financial exploitation report by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the majority of incidents of elder financial exploitation go unreported to authorities. The same report said some studies have found elder financial exploitation is emerging as the most prevalent form of elder abuse.
“While the goal is to stop exploitation, the legislation also includes many provisions to balance the priority of protecting our vulnerable citizens and the need for them to have access to resources for food, housing and other services,” Runestad said.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.