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Elder Fraud

Information on Elder Fraud

Elder Fraud generally refers to the financial exploitation of seniors. Financial exploitation can include consumer fraud, insurance and investment fraud, identity theft, or mistreatment by family, caretakers or other individuals. Under Alaska law AS 44.21.415, fraud includes the “exploitation of another person or another person's resources for personal profit or advantage with no significant benefit accruing to the person who is exploited.”

In 2012, legislation was passed to strengthen protections for seniors and other vulnerable adults who are being financially exploited.  The legislation adds to the list of professionals required to report concerns of harm, and expands the definition of harm to include “undue influence.”  The legislation also provides two new ways to quickly protect an elder or vulnerable adult’s finances and hopefully prevent further depletion of bank accounts and other assets:

1. An elder or vulnerable adult, or anyone concerned for that person, can apply to the court to receive an emergency 20-day protective order to stop a perpetrator from accessing monies or assets of the vulnerable adult. The 20 day order can be issued by a judge without requiring all of the parties to be present. A longer term order can be requested at the same time, however a second hearing is needed for this, and all parties must be notified and have the right to attend. The form and instructions for filing a 20 day petition for protection from financial abuse are included on the alaskalawhelp elder abuse page. These, and additional related forms can also be found here, on the court’s website.

2. The Court can order a temporary Conservator on an emergency basis.  An advocate for the elder or vulnerable adult must file a petition with the court.  The petition must show both that a temporary conservator is needed to prevent the waste or dissipation of funds or property, to manage the respondent’s financial affairs, or to obtain funds that are needed for the immediate support, care, and welfare, and  the elder or vulnerable adult is not capable of doing this on his/her own.  More detailed information on filing for an emergency conservatorship, including instructions and forms can be found here.

The Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance provides assistance to older Alaskans who are victims of fraud, including investigating complaints and in some cases, providing civil legal representation.  Click here to go to their website for more information. Financial exploitation can also be reported by filing a report of harm through Adult Protective Services.  The report of harm form can be found here.