Since Florida is a state that has a long history of people relocating here and retiring due to the weather, and a lack of state income tax, we have a significant retired and elderly population.
Based upon this fact, Florida has enacted laws to protect the retires and the elderly population from harms that are specific to their age and financial status. Exploitation of the Elderly is one such law which makes it a crime to:
- Knowingly use or attempt to use an elderly or disabled person’s money or property,
- With the intent to deprive the elderly or disabled of the use of the money or property,
To benefit someone else by someone who,
- Is in a position of trust with the elderly or disabled person, or
- Ha a business relationship with the elderly or disabled.
- Knows or reasonably should now the elderly or disabled lacks the capacity to consent,
- Is guardian, trustee, agent under power of attorney who breaches a fiduciary duty resulting in an unauthorized transfer of property,
- Has access to bank accounts of the elderly or disabled person,
- A person in a position of trust who negligently fails to effectively use income and assets for the benefit of the elderly or disabled,
Fla. Stat. §825.103.
The punishment for this type of crime depends upon the amount of the money or property alleged to be wrongfully handled as follows:
- If the amount involved is valued at $50,000.00 or more, it is a 1° Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison,
- If the amount involved is between $10,000.00 and less than $50,000.00, it is a 2° Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison,
- If the amount involved is less than $10,000.00, it is a 3° Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
As the above makes clear, Exploitation of the Elderly allegations are not only against unknown unscrupulous sales people who take advantage of the elderly by either signing them up for 10’s of thousands of dollars of “dance lessons”, selling an elderly person a $50,000.00 air conditioner for a one-bedroom small house. These allegations can include any situation where a family member doesn’t think the relative’s money is being spent properly.
So anytime a person who is over 60 years old, or is disabled (mental or physical incapacity or limitation restricting the ability to lead a normal daily life), their money, assets and property is provided special protection from anyone including relatives, agents, brokers, guardians, and anyone else who is in a position in which they should be looking out for the well-being of the elderly, and not the well-being of the elderly’s money.
Throughout our practice at Taracks & Associates, we have unfortunately seen families fighting over the assets of a loved one even before the loved one’s passing. It is unfortunate that when an elderly or disabled person has money or assets, may inspire other family members to not only complain about how the money is being handled, but to ultimately contact the authorities to investigate how the assets are being handled.
This type of monetary investigation not only is stressful but it can tear a family apart. Family members ultimately taking separate sides as the criminal charges while there is an investigation into how assets and money is being spent.
Since all Exploitation of the Elderly allegations concern potential felonies, once this type of allegation comes to light, speaking with a Tampa Exploitation Defense Attorney is imperative to protect your reputation, freedom and future.
If a person is wrongfully accused of taking advantage of an elderly or disabled person, once they have cleared their name, is there any recourse from the false allegation?
Fla. Stat. 415.111 makes it a 3° Felony to knowingly make a false report of Exploitation of the elderly, and this includes a person who advises another to make such a false report.
These types of allegations normally consist of an extensive “paper trail” of financial documents and banking records that take investigators months if not several years of analyzation to try to prove assets are being wasted, drained or even stolen.
So, if you are a caregiver, family member, guardian, or other person in a position of trust, and you are aware that your activities and duties to an elderly or disabled person is being reviewed or questioned by any law enforcement officer or any state agency, please call the Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney’s at Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897 for a Free Consultation.
We will then discuss the allegations of financial wrongdoing, review all available records, and develop a strategy to defend you from an allegation of Exploitation of the Elderly.