New Laws Protect Elderly from Financial Abuse

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean has signed two bills into law that are designed to protect the elderly from financial exploitation.

The first bill limits the scope of people who have been given the power of attorney for an elderly person. Michael Hall from the State Office on Aging says the new law is needed because there have been numerous cases where a family member or close friend has been given the power of attorney and then used it for their own financial benefit:

(Hall) "What the governor has signed today is the most progressive law in the country that assures that when somebody asks another person to be their agent under power of attorney, that it’s very clear between the parties what that entails: what the scope of authority is, what the duties of the agent are. The law specifically says you can’t use the money for your own benefit, you can’t co-mingle it with other funds, you can’t have conflicts of interest. And again if you do so, there are penalties that attach."

(Host) The state plans to launch a public education campaign to inform seniors about the provisions of the new law.

The second law signed by the governor gives law enforcement officials additional power to crack down on telemarketing fraud.

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