JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon signed a law that expands prosectors’ power to nab those who financially exploit seniors or persons with disabilities. The new law makes it easier to prove undue influence by legal guardians or those holding a power of attorney.
Previously, it was difficult to prove cases of financial exploitation of a dependent or client. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports that about one out of every five calls to the Elder Abuse Hotline is to report an allegation of financial exploitation.
The new law, which goes into effect Aug. 28, also expands and clarifies the definition of abuse against seniors by including injuries that result from reckless behavior. This allows prosecutors to pursue stiffer penalties for those who commit elder abuse.
“As a state, we have an obligation to protect our seniors,” Gov. Nixon said during a bill-signing ceremony at the South Side Senior Center in Springfield.