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AB-611 Mandated reporters of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult: powers of attorney.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/14/2017 09:00 PM
AB611:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 611


Introduced by Assembly Member Dababneh

February 14, 2017


An act to amend Section 15630.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to elder and dependent adults.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 611, as introduced, Dababneh. Mandated reporters of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult: powers of attorney.
Existing law requires a mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, as defined, to report financial abuse in a specified manner. Existing law provides for the creation and effect of powers of attorney.
This bill would authorize a mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult to not honor any power of attorney if he or she makes, or has actual knowledge that any other person has made, a report to an adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency of any state that the natural person who executed the power of attorney may be an elder or dependent adult subject to financial abuse.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 15630.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

15630.1.
 (a) As used in this section, “mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult” means all officers and employees of financial institutions.
(b) As used in this section, the term “financial institution” means any of the following:
(1) A depository institution, as defined in Section 3(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1813(c)).
(2) An institution-affiliated party, as defined in Section 3(u) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1813(u)).
(3) A federal credit union or state credit union, as defined in Section 101 of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1752), including, but not limited to, an institution-affiliated party of a credit union, as defined in Section 206(r) of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1786(r)).
(c) As used in this section, “financial abuse” has the same meaning as in Section 15610.30.
(d) (1) Any mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult who has direct contact with the elder or dependent adult or who reviews or approves the elder or dependent adult’s financial documents, records, or transactions, in connection with providing financial services with respect to an elder or dependent adult, and who, within the scope of his or her employment or professional practice, has observed or has knowledge of an incident, that is directly related to the transaction or matter that is within that scope of employment or professional practice, that reasonably appears to be financial abuse, or who reasonably suspects that abuse, based solely on the information before him or her at the time of reviewing or approving the document, record, or transaction in the case of mandated reporters who do not have direct contact with the elder or dependent adult, shall report the known or suspected instance of financial abuse by telephone or through a confidential Internet reporting tool, as authorized pursuant to Section 15658, immediately, or as soon as practicably possible. If reported by telephone, a written report shall be sent, or an Internet report shall be made through the confidential Internet reporting tool established in Section 15658, within two working days to the local adult protective services agency or the local law enforcement agency.
(2) When two or more mandated reporters jointly have knowledge or reasonably suspect that financial abuse of an elder or a dependent adult for which the report is mandated has occurred, and when there is an agreement among them, the telephone report or Internet report, as authorized by Section 15658, may be made by a member of the reporting team who is selected by mutual agreement. A single report may be made and signed by the selected member of the reporting team. Any member of the team who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter make that report.
(3) If the mandated reporter knows that the elder or dependent adult resides in a long-term care facility, as defined in Section 15610.47, the report shall be made to the local ombudsman or local law enforcement agency.
(e) An allegation by the elder or dependent adult, or any other person, that financial abuse has occurred is not sufficient to trigger the reporting requirement under this section if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult is aware of no other corroborating or independent evidence of the alleged financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult. The mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult is not required to investigate any accusations.
(2) In the exercise of his or her professional judgment, the mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult reasonably believes that financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult did not occur.
(f) Failure to report financial abuse under this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or if the failure to report is willful, a civil penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), which shall be paid by the financial institution that is the employer of the mandated reporter to the party bringing the action. Subdivision (h) of Section 15630 shall not apply to violations of this section.
(g) (1) The civil penalty provided for in subdivision (f) shall be recovered only in a civil action brought against the financial institution by the Attorney General, district attorney, or county counsel. No action shall be brought under this section by any person other than the Attorney General, district attorney, or county counsel. Multiple actions for the civil penalty may not be brought for the same violation.
(2) Nothing in the Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act of 2005 shall be construed to limit, expand, or otherwise modify any civil liability or remedy that may exist under this or any other law.
(h) As used in this section, “suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult” occurs when a person who is required to report under subdivision (a) observes or has knowledge of behavior or unusual circumstances or transactions, or a pattern of behavior or unusual circumstances or transactions, that would lead an individual with like training or experience, based on the same facts, to form a reasonable belief that an elder or dependent adult is the victim of financial abuse as defined in Section 15610.30.
(i) Reports of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult made by an employee or officer of a financial institution pursuant to this section are covered under subdivision (b) of Section 47 of the Civil Code.
(j) (1) A mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult is authorized to not honor any power of attorney described in Division 4.5 (commencing with Section 4000) of the Probate Code if the mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult makes, or has actual knowledge that any other person has made, a report to an adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency of any state that the principal may be subject to financial abuse, as described in this chapter or as defined in similar laws of another state, by the agent or person acting for or with the agent.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, the terms “principal” and “agent” shall have the same meanings as those terms used in Division 4.5 (commencing with Section 4000) of the Probate Code.