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Letter: Elder financial exploitation bill in works

All of us have heard the stories of an elderly person who handed over their life savings to some con artist. I’m trying to do something about it by authoring the elder financial exploitation bill.

We hear horrifying examples of how a senior was swindled out of $75,000 because she thought she’d won the lottery. Right now, no mechanism is available for a financial institution or advisor that suspects there to be a problem to pause that transaction and investigate.

My bill creates financial exploitation protections for adults aged 65 or older and vulnerable adults by permitting broker-dealers and investment advisors, under limited circumstances in which financial exploitation is suspected, to disclose information and delay disbursements or transactions. Specifically, it allows for an up to 15-day review. I also have been working with the Department of Commerce and financial advisors to come up with a reasonable solution to this growing problem.

Sometimes it’s not an outrageous email, phone call or phony sweepstakes — it’s family members trying to swindle money and take advantage of a situation. We wanted to do this in a way that allows for seniors to spend their money as they wish but also protects them from financial exploitation.

This bill was recently approved in the Minnesota House Commerce Committee, and now heads to the House Civil Law Committee for further discussion.

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