Earlier this year, BB&C attorney Kyle Cray spoke at the 28th annual lifetime achievement seminar presented by the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. His topic? The Senior Consumer Protection Act, which helps shield seniors from financial predators. It allows senior consumers—individuals 60 years of age or older—to seek legal action against individuals who knowingly and unscrupulously obtain control of seniors’ assets and property.
In his presentation, Kyle addressed the need for legislation and how it gives attorneys the means to pursue cases where exploitation is suspected. Here’s a breakdown of the Senior Consumer Protection Act, and how the law protects you or a loved one.
Why Indiana needed the Senior Consumer Protection Act
A few years ago, legislators noticed a gap in legal protections for Indiana seniors. To stop people from taking advantage of the elderly, they added a new chapter to the Indiana Code. The legislation—known as the Senior Consumer Protection Act—passed in 2013.
“It simplified, clarified, and modernized the law concerning ownership, control, and use of property or assets of senior consumers,” Kyle said. He explained that the law protects seniors from any individual who—by deception or intimidation—obtains control of the senior’s assets or property.
In other words, those who commit an act of financial exploitation—scheming home repair contractors, door-to-door solicitors, or family members or caregivers—have a lot to lose.
What happens when an attorney pursues a case
If an attorney suspects an individual has taken advantage of a senior consumer, an attorney can pursue a case against them. The Senior Consumer Protection Act gives attorneys the means to recover legal fees, civil penalties, and treble damages (a recovery three times the amount of actual damages).
“A person in a position of trust—a parent, spouse, caregiver, legal fiduciary, etc.—could be ordered to pay three times the amount of damages, and civil penalties up to $10,000,” Kyle said. He explained that a person who is not in a position of trust would pay double damages, and civil penalties up to $5,000.
In addition to the return of property or assets, a senior consumer can receive reimbursement for any actual damages incurred.
“The court may also award reasonable attorney fees to a senior consumer who prevails in an action,” Kyle added.
BB&C has successfully pursued damages under the Senior Consumer Protection Act and is ready to assist seniors if they have been victimized by fraudulent acts. To learn more about the Senior Consumer Protection Act, or if you or a loved one is the victim of financial exploitation, contact Kyle Cray at 765-742-9066.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.