Elderly and disabled Missouri residents could gain new protection against financial exploitation by people who have authority over them under legislation awaiting action by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Missouri already has a law making it a crime to take financial advantage of an elderly or disabled person through deception, intimidation or force.
The bill on Nixon's desk would expand that law, criminalizing the use of "undue influence" to financially exploit a disabled or elderly person's "vulnerable state of mind, neediness, pain or agony." It could be applied to those who improperly or fraudulently use a power of attorney, guardianship, conservatorship or other fiduciary authority.
The severity of the charge and potential penalty would rise with the amount of money involved.
A violation involving less than $50 would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The worst violations, involving more than $50,000, would be Class A felonies, carrying a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
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MO Lawmakers Aim to Strengthen Senior Protections