Senate Bill No. 552
(By Senators Laird, Williams, Wells, Jenkins, Miller, Minard Sypolt and Kessler (Acting President))
[Introduced February 18, 2011; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-2-29c, relating to crimes against the person; financial exploitation of elderly persons, protected persons and incapacitated adults for misappropriating or misusing assets; permitting the prosecutor to proceed in the same indictment for distinct acts of misappropriation or misuse; permitting banking institutions and others to report suspected financial exploitation to law-enforcement authorities and other entities; permitting financial institutions to disclose suspicious activity reports or currency transaction reports to the prosecuting attorney; providing civil immunity for reporting; ordering restitution; and establishing the criminal penalty of larceny.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-2-29c, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON.
§61-2-29c. Financial exploitation of an elderly person, protected person or incapacitated adult; penalties; definitions.
(a) Financial exploitation occurs when a person intentionally misappropriates or misuses the funds or assets of an elderly person, protected person or incapacitated adult. Any person who violates this section is guilty of larceny and shall be ordered to pay restitution.
(b) In prosecuting a person accused of violating subsection (a), it is lawful to proceed in the same indictment and to charge the person for any number of distinct acts of misappropriation or misuse committed within six months from the first act if the act is done as part of a common scheme or plan.
(c) Financial institutions and their employees, as defined by section one, article two-a, chapter thirty-one-a of this code and as permitted by section four, subsection thirteen of that article, others engaged in financially related activities as defined by section one, article eight-c, chapter thirty-one-a of this code, caregivers, relatives and other concerned persons are permitted to report suspected cases of financial exploitation to state or federal law enforcement authorities, the county prosecuting attorney and to the Department of Health and Human Resources, Adult Protective Services Division or Medicaid Fraud Division as appropriate. Public officers and employees are required to report suspected cases of financial exploitation to the appropriate entities as stated above. The requisite agencies shall investigate or cause the investigation of the allegations.
(d) When financial exploitation is suspected and to the extent permitted by federal law, financial institutions and their employees or other business entities required by federal law or regulation to file suspicious activity reports and currency transaction reports shall also be permitted to disclose suspicious activity reports or currency transaction reports to the prosecuting attorney of any county in which the transactions underlying the suspicious activity reports or currency transaction reports occurred.
(e) Any person or entity is immune from civil liability for reporting suspected cases of financial exploitation pursuant to this section.
(f) For the purposes of this section:
(1) “Incapacitated adult” means a person as defined by section twenty-nine of this article;
(2) “Elderly person” means a person who is sixty-five years
or older; and
(3) “Protected person” means any person who is defined as a “protected person” in subsection thirteen, section four, article one, chapter forty-four-a of this code and who is subject to the protections of chapters forty-four-a or forty-four-c of this code.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is create the crime of financial exploitation of an elderly person, protected person or incapacitated adult.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.