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AB-502 Crime victim compensation: elder or dependent adult financial abuse.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/17/2017 04:00 AM
AB502:v98#DOCUMENT

Revised  June 20, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 16, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 502


Introduced by Assembly Member Waldron
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Gloria and Voepel)
(Coauthor: Senator Bates)

February 13, 2017


An act to add and repeal Article 7 (commencing with Section 13967) to of Chapter 5 of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to crime victims.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 502, as amended, Waldron. Crime victim compensation: elder or dependent adult financial abuse.
Existing law provides for the compensation of victims and derivative victims of specified types of crimes by the California Victim Compensation Board from the Restitution Fund, a continuously appropriated fund, for specified losses suffered as a result of those crimes. Existing law sets forth eligibility requirements and specified limits on the amount of compensation the board may award, and requires applications for compensation to be verified under penalty of perjury.
This bill would create the San Diego County Elder or Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Crime Victim Compensation Pilot Program and would authorize the board, upon appropriation by the Legislature before January 1, 2020, to provide victims of elder or dependent adult financial abuse compensation to reimburse costs for financial counseling, mental health counseling, or supportive services, as specified, if the crime occurred in the County of San Diego. The bill would limit compensation pursuant to this authorization to $3,000 per person and an aggregate total of $1,000,000. The bill would exclude a derivative victim from eligibility for compensation if the only crime the victim suffered was elder or dependent adult financial abuse. The bill would authorize the pilot program to operate until January 1, 2021. The bill would require the board to report specified information related to the pilot program to the Legislature and Governor on or before July 1, 2021. By expanding the scope of the crime of perjury, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2022.
This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for the County of San Diego.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California has the highest number of older adults compared to any other state in the nation, with 4.2 million individuals over 65 years of age counted in the 2010 census. Census.
(b) Elderly and dependent adults are seen as easy targets by financial predators who take advantage of their victims’ loneliness, isolation, and vulnerability. This population often falls victim to scams, including foreign lotteries, the sale of costly and ineffective annuities, identity theft, reverse mortgage scams, and fraudulent home repairs. Financial abuse is also committed by family members or caregivers who take advantage of an elder’s isolation and dependence.
(c) A 1998 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that an elder victimized by financial abuse has a decreased projected lifespan when compared to elders who have not suffered that exploitation.
(d) The State Department of Social Services reports that as many as 1,600 reports of elder and dependent adult financial abuse are under investigation per month by Adult Protective Services offices statewide.
(e) The California Victims of Crime Program does not serve this population, even though federal law allows Victims of Crime Act funds to be used to do so. Federal guidelines identify elders and dependent adults as being underserved in this area.
(f) Many states already provide assistance to victims of financial crimes, including Colorado, Florida, Idaho, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wyoming.
(g) Elderly and dependent adult victims who lack the means to recover or replace misappropriated assets or property often suffer severe consequences, including failing health; severe anxiety, depression, and hopelessness; and dependence on public assistance. Research has shown the benefits of mental health and financial counseling in helping these victims remain independent and regain the confidence to take perpetrators to court.
(h) A pilot program is needed to provide the Legislature with data on the demand for victim services, including mental health and financial counseling, by this population and the costs and outcomes of these services. The collection of this data could further help the state track the types and frequency of financial crimes against elder and dependent adults, identify services that are most needed by victims and the rates at which these services are utilized, and establish best practice protocols for serving these victims.
(i) The County of San Diego is well-situated to provide victims of elder and dependent adult financial abuse with access to services, including mental health and financial counseling.

SEC. 2.

 Article 7 (commencing with Section 13967) is added to Chapter 5 of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
Article  7. San Diego County Elder or Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Crime Victim Compensation Pilot Program

13967.
 (a) The San Diego County Elder or Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Crime Victim Compensation Pilot Program is hereby established.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 13955, and except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), a person who meets the requirements listed in subdivision (a) of Section 13955 shall be eligible for compensation under subdivision (d) if he or she was a victim of a violation of subdivision (d) or (e) of Section 368 of the Penal Code, and the crime occurred in the County of San Diego.
(c) A person shall not be eligible for compensation pursuant to subdivision (b) if he or she is a derivative victim and the only crime the victim suffered is elder or dependent adult abuse described in subdivision (d) or (e) of Section 368 of the Penal Code.
(d) Notwithstanding Section 13957, the board may grant for pecuniary loss, upon appropriation by the Legislature before January 1, 2020, if the board determines it will best aid the person seeking compensation to reimburse the expense of financial counseling, mental health counseling, or supportive services for a victim of a crime described in subdivision (d) or (e) of Section 368 of the Penal Code or financial abuse as defined by Section 15610.30 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, that occurred in the County of San Diego, as follows, up to a total of not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000) per person:
(1) The cost of not more than 10 sessions of financial counseling provided by a financial counselor, as described in the Victims of Crime Act Victim Compensation Grant Program (66 F.R. 27158-01), or an adviser providing services such as analysis of a victim’s financial situation, including income-producing capacity and crime-related financial obligations, assistance with restructuring budget and debt, assistance in accessing insurance, public assistance, and other benefits, and assistance in completing the financial aspects of victim impact statements.
(2) The cost of not more than 10 sessions of mental health counseling.
(3) The cost of transportation to appointments or the cost of counseling appointments provided in the home.
(e) Compensation pursuant to subdivision (d) shall not exceed an aggregate total of one million dollars ($1,000,000) for all persons compensated pursuant to the San Diego County Elder or Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Crime Victim Compensation Pilot Program.
(f) This section shall become inoperative on January 1, 2021.

13967.1.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2021, the California Victim Compensation Board shall report to the Legislature and the Governor all of the following:
(1) The number of victims who received payments pursuant to this article.
(2) The number of victims who received mental health counseling.
(3) The average payment for mental health counseling per recipient.
(4) The number of victims who received financial counseling.
(5) The average payment for financial counseling per recipient.
(6) Any other data on the pilot program that the board wishes to include.
(b) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

13967.5.
 This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2022, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 The Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique circumstances in the County of San Diego where a high number of reported elder and dependent adult financial abuse crimes occur. The County of San Diego is well-suited for a pilot program that would allow the Legislature to gather data on the demand for victim services, including mental health and financial counseling, by elderly and dependent adult victims of financial crimes so as to effectively develop policies and resources for this underserved population.

SEC. 4.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
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REVISIONS:
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